Businesses allegedly paying out big money on video gaming machines had not been discreet about the illegal activity.
Prior to raids on six Chamblee businesses Sunday, Oct. 18, the chance of big-money jackpots were advertised in local Vietnamese newspapers. The raids led to 14 arrests and the seizure of 74 video gaming machines.
“They were pretty bold about it,” said Chamblee Police Capt. Michael Beller. “They’ve been putting it in writing and acting with impunity for a long time. Nobody has messed with them before this.”
Under legislation passed in 2002, it is illegal in Georgia to pay cash for winning on any gaming machine. Businesses can only offer coupons, prizes or gift certificates worth not more than $5 on a single play.
None of the machines had coin slots, but accepted $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills, police said.
A tip about the payouts led to an undercover investigation of all six businesses raided a few days prior to the arrests, Beller said. The businesses were visited twice and undercover audio and video of illegal activity was obtained, police said.
Taken in the raids were mostly “Triple 7” slots and video poker machines, along with $20,000 on hand for payouts and two guns, Beller said. The “Triple 7” machines were advertised as paying as much as $20,000 in a single spin.
“One person we arrested had $3,000 in his pocket,” Beller said. “It’s very rare to hit a $19,000 jackpot, but just the thought of it is enough to keep somebody coming back.”
Twelve people were arrested on felony commercial gambling charges and two were arrested on misdemeanor gambling charges. All those arrested were either owners or managers who were allegedly paying out cash. No patrons who were using the machines were arrested, Beller said.
The businesses raided were Di Vang, 4646 Buford Highway, Suite C; Linda’s TD, 4646 Buford Highway, Suite A; De Nhat Bida, 3308 Laventure Drive, Suite B-170; Cafe Lido, 3308 Laventure Drive, Suite 110; Chot Nho Billiards, 2494 Chamblee Tucker Road; and May Ngan, 3240 Shallowford Road.
All those arrested were in jail Monday awaiting a magistrate court hearing.