• Local police help with new crackdown on video lottery machines

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    PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. - Taxpayers could cash in big from a crackdown on video gaming machines.

    The Georgia Lottery regulates the machines and is now partnering with local law enforcment to step up surprise inspections.

    Paulding County Sheriff's deputy Donny Pace doubles as a video gaming machine inspector for the Georgia Lottery.
     
    "We want to make our community safer, you know, folks are out there abusing these machines," said Sgt. Ashley Henson with the Paulding County Sheriff's Office.
     
    The lottery now regulates more than 23,000 machines across the state. With only 10 inspectors, the agency partners with local law enforcement for surprise inspections.
     
    "To help us get more eyes and ears on the ground," said compliance inspector Kenny Thompson
     
    They check for license decals, proper signage, programming and that each machine is hooked up to a central system that tracks the cash coming in.
     
    "We don't want to have the fine, anything like that, that would spoil the reputation of the store, or anything like that, so we just make sure everything is in order," said store owner Jenny Amin.
     
    While many machines pass the inspections Thompson says, "There's still some that try to slip through the cracks."

    Records show over the last year the lottery has conducted more than 4,400 inspection, issued more than 1,300 citations and collected more than $1 million in fines.
     
    But enforcement is just one way the machines can pay off big for the public.
     
    "Licensing revenues and a portion of the proceeds goes to the Georgia Lottery, which then goes to Hope and Pre-K programs," said John Heinen, VP of the Georgia Lottery Corporation.
     
    This year alone, the lottery expects to bring in more than $30 million from video machines.

    Under new regulations, the state's cut right now is 6 percent, but that will grow to 10 percent over the next few years. On the enforcement side, the lottery is working to partner up with more local law enforcement agencies.

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