Although North Carolina's 14-year experiment with video poker officially ended over the weekend, that doesn't mean every machine in the state has gone dark.
After concluding efforts to regulate the business out of existence weren't working, lawmakers agreed to phase out the machines completely. The last machines had to be out of operation
But both law enforcement and owners of the previously legal machines say it's inevitable that secret poker machine parlors will continue to pop up, offering big cash jackpots.
Raids in Fayetteville and western North Carolina alone have uncovered illegal machines and more than $3 million in cash in the past year or so.
The phase-out, which began last fall, slowly reduced the number of machines any retailer could operate or distributor set up at one location.
Possession of a machine will remain a misdemeanor and the machine will be confiscated. Repeat offenders face a felony, and those with at least five illegal machines could face up to three years in prison.
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