Lakeland gambling raid has police concerned - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lakeland gambling raid has police concerned

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

LAKELAND, GA (WALB) –A gambling raid in Lakeland has police concerned about what they say is a growing problem in south Georgia.

Police seized cash and video machines from a convenience store Tuesday. The machines are legal, but paying out cash is not.

These are the five video game machines Lakeland Police seized shortly after 3:00 Tuesday afternoon during an illegal gaming raid.

"We served our search warrants and found the machines in the back and found one ticket where someone had just cashed out to be paid," said Chief Robbie Grantham.

After people would play, a ticket would print with points, one point equaling one dollar. Eight $100 bills were found inside one of the machines.

 "It's getting to be a serious problem in South Georgia."

In addition to the machines, investigators seized more than $9,200. Police are working to get arrest warrants for Lakeland Quick Stop store owner Vipul Patel.

"The machines are legal. On the machines down here, there is actually a sticker from the Department of Revenue," said Chief Grantham.

What makes this operation illegal is that winnings were paid in cash instead of merchandise.

Police busted the Quick Stop convenience store for illegal gaming. The thousands of dollars found have Police concerned about the impact gambling could have on families.

"When people lose jobs, they get sad. They turn to alcohol. They turn to substances or they turn to other things to make them feel better such as gambling," said Casey Corbin, Greenleaf Outpatient Program Director.

Counselors say gambling addictions are similar to drug addictions.

"They're going to get a endorphin response," said Corbin.

He says in an economy like this unfortunately the one industry that actually increases is treatment especially in the field of addiction.

The store owner could be charged with gambling, having a gambling establishment, and even racketeering.

 

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