• Investigators raid gas stations over illegal gambling

    By: Tom Jones

    Updated:

    VILLA RICA, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News watched on Thursday as agents confiscated thousands of dollars in cash at a business they say operated illegal gambling machines.

    The Georgia Bureau of Investigations raided the Chevron Ginni Mart on Rockmart Road Thursday after they say they discovered it gave cash payouts for slot machine winnings.

    People in the area told Channel 2’s Tom Jones that the machines do nothing but feed into gambling addictions.

    “You lose your wife. You lose your kids. You use your home. You lose everything you got,” said resident Matt Peale. “Messes everybody up.”

    The GBI received numerous complaints about illegal slot machines at the Chevron station, as well as the Shell fueling station on Commerce Drive in Villa Rica.

    Jones was there as agents executed a search warrant. Agents say they discovered the businesses were handing out cash payouts, which is illegal in Georgia.

    The only thing the law allows to be redeemed for credits are store merchandise, gas and lottery tickets.

    Jones watched as agents confiscated cash and Georgia Lottery Corporation employees brought out hundreds of lottery tickets.

    Agents say illegal slot machines destroy families.

    Villa Rica police said they executed search warrants at the Chevron gas station on Rockmart Road and the Shell station on Commerce Drive after a lengthy investigation for violations against the state’s commercial gambling laws.
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    “It encourages or makes the addiction worse. We have a lot of people that get addicted to gambling,” said GBI agent Ron Braxley.

    Marie Patterson said her aunt blew $500,000 of her retirement on slot machines.

    “And I hate them,” Patterson told Jones.

    Peale said he is happy agents have stepped in to address the problem.

    “You get your whole paycheck, it goes right in there. You lose everything. When your wife talking about how you going to pay the rent. I don't know? You going to be out on the street for all I know,” Peale said.

    Agents said gamers spend $2 billion a year on the slot machines.

    Agents say arrests are still pending in this case and the stores could be shut down.

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