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Most Gambling Cases Settled
Tuesday, 31 August 2010

September 1--  It's been nearly six months since the local District Attorney conducted what was described as "the largest raid on illegal gambling ever conducted in the Middle Judicial Circuit."

The crackdown on video poker games resulted in the immediate closing of 29 convenience stores in Toombs and Emanuel counties.

"The actual intent of the operation was to reduce or eliminate the gambling which was going on in these stores.  It was at the request of citizens in both Toombs and Emanuel counties and we have been successful in that endeavor," District Attorney Hayward Altman reports.

Today he says almost all of the stores in both counties have re-opened or have had their cases heard in court and can proceed with reopening if they so choose.  Altman says there are six cases in Toombs County which have been delayed or are under appeal.

The DA says over 90 percent of the feedback he's received on the raids has been favorable.  "It was having a devastating effect on families.  The citizens who talked with me were in desperate straits over what was happening with their family members.  It was something we could not overlook, and I wouldn't to begin with, but after talking with family members I could not overlook it.  Also, there were more armed robberies being committed because people knew there was extra money in these stores," Altman says.

Altman says some criminal charges may still be filed in some of the cases.  He also reports a civil case is scheduled to be heard in September in Emanuel County.  The owner of some seized machines claims he was unaware of what some store operators were doing and that he should not have any liability in the cases. 

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