Commercial Gambling laws in Georgia carry significant penalties and life-changing consequences. In particular, the State of Georgia launched a task force targeting businesses that use legal Coin Operated Amusement Machines (COAMs). You can face significant fines, seizures, and even jail time for commercial gambling. Read the info below to know what you can do to protect yourself and schedule a consultation with our office to discuss your options.
What is a Coin Operated Amusement Machine?
Coin Operated Amusement Machines (COAMs) are categorized as Class A & B machines. Class A COAMs are traditional arcade games or jukeboxes that accept payment for entertainment. Class B COAMS are skill-based games that allow you to win Georgia Lottery tickets or store merchandise, for instance. In Georgia, owners and operators of COAMs must comply with Georgia Code 50-27-70.
How do Commercial Gambling Laws in Georgia impact COAMs?
Class B COAM players cannot redeem anything beyond Georgia lottery tickets, additional COAM game plays, or limited types of in-store merchandise. The law covers someone who “operates or participates in the earnings of a gambling place,” and someone who “receives, records, or forwards a bet.” For this reason, store clerks and store owners in a business with completely lawful and licensed COAMs, can face commercial gambling arrests.
What are legal and illegal COAM redemptions?
Class B COAM players are allowed to redeem in-store merchandise, in-store gift cards, fuel, additional COAM game plays, or Georgia Lotto tickets. However, it is illegal for Class B COAM players to to redeem cash, alcohol, tobacco, or any other non-store merchandise.
How does Georgia enforce Commercial Gambling Laws?
The Georgia Lottery Corporation (GLC) partners with multiple law enforcement agencies to target business owners with Class B COAMs. For instance, the GBI or Sheriff’s Office sends Confidential-Informants into a business to witness illegal use of COAMs. Also, the GLC shares financial records with prosecutors to determine if a business owner is breaking the law. In particular, businesses with Class B COAMs must not derive more than 50% of its total income from COAMs.
What are the Commercial Gambling penalties?
Commercial Gambling is a felony in Georgia. Punishments can include 1-5 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.00. Misdemeanor Gambling charges in Georgia can include 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.00. In addition to criminal penalties, the GLC penalizes business owners. For instance, the GLC may fine you up to $50,000.00 in addition to revoking all state and local licenses.
What can the Awad Legal Team do?
Our office will uncover mitigating facts that can reduce your penalties. If you act fast, we can contact the GLC and negotiate a resolution that allows you to keep your business and your money. Also, we can investigate your case to discover defenses and combat abusive prosecutions. Contact us for a free consultation today. Our office wants to protect your name and future.