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13 Arrested In Warner Robins For Video Game Gambling | News

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13 Arrested In Warner Robins For Video Game Gambling
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Warner Robins Police say there are more arrests to come in an ongoing investigation into commercial gambling.

Friday, police arrested 13 clerks and owners of stores for enabling gambling on video gaming machines. Police spokeswoman Tabitha Pugh says having the machines isn't illegal in itself.

"However when a person wins a jackpot or wins one of the games because of the machines," she said, "and they are given cash money by the clerk or the owner, that's when it becomes illegal."

Pugh says, Georgia law only allows non-cash prizes like merchandise or store credit.

Warner Robins police executed search warrants at 11 stores, including one on Elberta Road. Pugh says the arrests result from months of work by the narcotics unit.

"It does take several months for investigators to gather their evidence as well as create a solid case," she said.

Bibb County Chief Deputy David Davis says it's not just in Warner Robins. The video gaming stores are pervasive in Bibb and beyond.

"A lot of times these gambling machines are really in neighborhoods where people can least afford to play them," said Davis, "so you're really playing a losing game when you do that."

Bibb county had a large commercial gambling bust in 2010, and Davis says since then, deputies have stayed busy.

"We've made some small cases since, but we've done a lot of warning. We've done a lot of going in and talking to the convenience store operators," he said.

Pugh says the narcotics unit is planning more arrests based on those 11 search warrants and she says they have several more stores on the radar.

Commercial gambling is a felony and punishable by up to 5 years in prison or a $20 thousand dollar fine.

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