Luck runs out for businesses allowing illegal gaming - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Luck runs out for businesses allowing illegal gaming

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By Delivrine Registre - bio | email

DOUGLAS, GA (WALB) - Deputies barged into Yogi's convenient store on Bryan street in Douglas and immediately roped of a perimeter. They shut the business down for several hours.

A team leader collected information from everyone in the store while a DNR officer and a deputy searched every room, shelf, and box. And this scene was repeated all over Coffee county. "There are arrest warrants in every place that we have served search warrants," said Coffee Sheriff Department Captain Walter James.

Six gaming machines promising easy money were in a back room, but the machines themselves are not illegal. "They are governed and monitored by the Department of Revenue," said Coffee Sheriff Department Major Scott Harper.

Cash payout's are. "It is illegal to give cash, tobacco, alcohol, lottery tickets and guns," said James. And investigators say that is exactly what they saw happen during their four month undercover investigation.

"During an interview someone explained to me that they had a gambling problem and literally gambled away an entire business in one of the places we are working in today," said James.

"Gambling is just like drugs or alcohol. People can get addicted," said Scott.

And that is why Bryant Wilson said he is happy to see these businesses taken down. "With the economy the way it is people are in need of money. They will try what they can to make their ends meet," said Bryant.

Officers hope this raid sends other businesses a message. "It is illegal and they will get caught," said James. And say they won't hesitate to search other businesses running illegal gambling operations.

All of the gaming machines in the stores were confiscated, and 95 arrest warrants were issued during Monday's raid. Investigators say more arrests will follow.

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