Six people were arrested last week in Tifton and face charges related to illegal gambling in Tift County. Authorities raided a business housing coin operated amusement machines that allegedly were paying out in cash.
Cash payouts are illegal in Georgia.
No money is allowed to be awarded without licensure and approval from the Georgia Lottery.
Authorities are seeking one other suspect
Coin operated amusement machines (COAMs) are legal in Georgia as long as earned credits are not redeemed for cash. Only non-cash prizes, such as lottery tickets and/or store merchandise, can be paid out from the slots-like machines. Georgia online casinos and sports betting in Georgia are also prohibited.
A joint operation conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), Tift County Sheriff’s Office, Tifton Police Department and the Southwestern Regional Drug Enforcement Office resulted in the arrest of six people allegedly involved in illegal gambling.
All six of the people arrested in the raid are from Tifton.
- Dron Modi, 29
- Prajakta Modi, 51
- Tarunkumar Modi, 52
- Mukeshkumar Patel, 55
- Sunny Patel, 22
- Jagatpal Singh, 48
A seventh suspect, Charles Monroe Jr., 38, also of Tifton, remains at large.
Tifton is 180 miles south of Atlanta.
Traditional poker rooms also illegal in Georgia
Currently, there are no legal ways to play COAMs in Georgia that give out cash prizes. The same goes for most types of poker. The GBI has recently been cracking down on illegal poker rooms. That’s expected to continue until the Georgia General Assembly passes a law making casino gambling and cash poker legal in the state.
However, some poker games are permitted at Georgia poker clubs. Georgia Code 16.12.20 allows for so-called “bar poker” and “tavern poker” at establishments where no cash prizes are awarded. Players cannot pay to enter these leagues or poker events, and no cash can be awarded. Instead, door prizes may be given out as long as the value does not exceed a certain amount and there is no fee to enter the event. Players may tip poker dealers.
Prizes for such poker events can be clothing, poker chips, championship-related trophies, etc. The only cash that may be awarded must be earmarked for a charitable cause agreed to by participants.