A trail of speculation followed. Convenience stores, many of them, have legal gaming machines thanks to the Georgia General Assembly. These machines can rake in thousands of dollars a month. Supposedly, winnings are not to be paid out in cash, but the dirty little secret perpetrated by lawmakers is that some proprietors do, in fact, pay off with cash money.
According to a report by our media partner NewsCentral, Capt. Earl Humphries of the Jones County Sheriff’s Department, said it best. “When you walk into a convenience store and you see six machines in the corner and there are five to six people playing them, they are not putting $20, $50, $100 in these machines when the off chance is that they are going to win a Coca-Cola and a pack of crackers.”
What’s the penalty for paying cash? It’s only a misdemeanor. Law enforcement is forced to ask itself: Do we go after a victimless crime or focus on the perpetrators of crimes with victims?
These gaming machines, classified as “amusement games,” are serious business. South Carolina thought them so serious that it kicked them all out of the state. Where did they go? Georgia. For a short time we put up roadblocks, too, but those were quickly dismantled, all in the name of bringing the state more money through registration fees.
We should stop allowing lawmakers to wink-wink when it comes to these machines. It’s gambling pure and simple, as is the state lottery. Either make the penalties more substantial for paying out cash; drop the pretense altogether and allow cash payments or do as South Carolina and kick them out of the state.