Anchor: New at 5:00, more than a half dozen Dekalb County business owners face commercial gambling charges after a GBI raid that closed stores for hours today. Channel 2 Action News was the only TV station there when agents shut down the locations all along Glenwood Road. Channel 2’s Liz Arts explains what investigators say was going on.
Reporter: Only Channel 2 Action News was there as the GBI says this man was arrested and charged with commercial gambling Tuesday morning. Big Daddy’s grocery on Glenwood Road was one of 8 businesses targeted by the agency, in an undercover operation. Hundreds of thousands of dollars a month, agents told us, are illegally made on this stretch of road alone.
GBI: It’s a lot of money going through these businesses, and these are small businesses here along Glenwood. In a small community such as this you wouldn’t think the number would be that high but they are.
Interviewee: That money could have been used to fix some of these streets or give back to the neighborhood.
Reporter: The operation focused on these machines. The business owners are accused of paying winnings in cash. Georgia law states winnings can only be store merchandise, gas or lottery tickets.
Interviewee: I thought it was all legit out here and to not know that this is what’s been going on, that’s really crazy for us to be so blind.
Reporter: Special agent in charge Cindy Ledford said many of these stores wouldn’t survive without the gaming machines, she said, thus the incentive to pay cash. She told me it brings more people into the store to play the gaming devices.