By: Andrew Carter & Kevin Karel & Laura-Jane Hatcher (WRGA News)
UPDATE 11:29pm: Seven service stations in Floyd County were served search warrants Monday morning after local authorities identified them as possible participants in an illegal video gambling operation.
According to a press release from the Floyd County Sherriff’s Department, a nine-month, multi-agency investigation into the local businesses, four of which are in the city with three in the county, culminated into the 9am sting.
Rome City Police Chief Elaine Snow says it all began with citizen complaints that these gas stations were paying out video gambling prizes with cash.
“Video gambling machines by themselves are not necessarily illegal. It is the activity of when you start
paying out in cash funds to someone who wins that makes it illegal. And, that’s what’s happening here,” Snow says.
“That is the complaint that the citizens of Rome and Floyd County have brought to all of our departments---not just my department, but also the Sherriff’s department, the County Police department; they’ve talked with some of our City Commissioners----They’ve talked to our District Attorney’s Office.”
“Citizens are complaining that these locations are, in fact, paying out with money.”
Among the businesses that were raided early Monday were the Rome Food Mart on Redmond Circle, the Citgo on Shorter Avenue and the BP on Martha Berry in Armuchee.
Along with the Rome City and Floyd County Sherriff’s Office and Police, the Rome/Floyd Metro Task Force, the Floyd County District Attorney’s Office and Georgia Department of Revenue Agents were also involved in the gambling round-up.
UPDATED 12 PM MONDAY: We continue to follow a developing story Monday as local police investigate a number of service stations in the Rome-Floyd County area for alleged illegal activity involving electronic gambling machines. The extent of the crimes being investigated is unclear at this time.
According to Rome Police Chief Elaine Snow a total of seven service stations, four in the city of Rome and three in the county, were occupied by law enforcement on Monday, with crime scene tape and multiple police cars at each location. Among those businesses that were occupied by police Monday were the Rome Food Mart on Redmond Circle, the Citgo on Shorter Avenue and the BP on Martha Berry in Armuchee.
Rome Police Chief Elaine Snow says the Floyd Police Department, Floyd County Sheriff’s Department, Rome-Floyd Metro Drug Task Force and the district attorney’s office have all been part of the investigation.