Two Middle River "internet cafes" raided this week by Baltimore County police sat empty Thursday morning.
"Due to the software updating, We will be closed between Oct. 22nd through Oct. 31st," read a sign posted on the door of 88 Sweepstakes on Martin Boulevard. The banner above the storefront had been removed, and a look through the window revealed that the shop was practically bare, save for a beverage cooler, a table and cases of drinks.
Equipment there, and at nine other similar establishments, was seized by police in raids Wednesday. Police said that the computers in the so-called "sweepstakes" cafes were in fact used to conduct illegal gambling.
The raids—conducted with the U.S. Attorney's office and federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement—were part of what police said was a year-long investigation. Detectives were reportedly able to use the computers and get a payout for winnings on them. Under state law, only state-authorized casinos may pay such rewards for electronic games.
The other Middle River business that was raided, Wheel of Fortune Phone Card Center in the 100 block of Carroll Island Road, was also locked on Thursday morning, though no note was posted on the door. Desks were empty where computers had been.
No arrests have yet been made in relation to any of the raids.