BULLOCH CO., GA (WTOC) - Search warrants were executed at four Bulloch County businesses for violations of Georgia's commercial gambling laws.
According to a GBI release, agents collected evidence related to crimes of commercial gambling and seized monetary assets gained from the use of illegal use of gaming machines.
Search warrants were executed at the following business locations:
- Jai Ma Ambe, Inc. d/b/a Amoco BP Food Store, 218 North Main Street, Statesboro
- S&D Grandsons, Inc. d/b/a Quick Shop, 301 North Main Street, Statesboro
- Maruti Food & Gas, LLC, 17899 US Hwy. 301 North, Statesboro
- Vraj Gopi Inc., d/b/a Vraj Food Mart #1, 21196 Hwy. 80 East, Statesboro
All the locations are currently licensed to operate Coin-Operated Amusement Machines. However, during the investigation, agents discovered customers were receiving cash payouts for winning credits. In Georgia, credits may only be redeemed for lottery tickets.
"We have stores we're executing warrants on today that took in more than $1 million a year, just on the machines," said Cindy Ledford, with the GBI Commercial Gambling Unit. "You cannot receive cash as a redemption, and in the case of the search warrants today, we received cash repeatedly from those locations."
Ledford says gaming machines raked in $2 billion in Georgia over the past 12 months, but many stores pay out cash illegally to lure more customers and avoid paying state taxes on the true income.
"The cities and counties aren't getting revenue from those monies as well. That's money that should be going back into the community," Ledford said.
Multiple arrests are pending.
In total, more than 25 officers launched the raid. Agents with GBI and deputies with the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office in cooperation with the Georgia Lottery Corporation and the Georgia Department of Revenue executed the search warrants.