On Thursday, Governor Nathan Deal and other Georgia officials announced their intentions to purge Georgia of “illegal” internet gambling cafes. Officials believe that there could be as many as 100 internet cafes within the State that function as illegal gambling businesses.
In addition to the current cafes, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation believes that many more gambling cafes will soon spring up as the industry continues to expand. Officials are also worried that the gambling industry is intimidating District Attorneys across the State by contacting them and trying to convince them that such cafes are legal under Georgia law. In response, the State has pledged its support to prosecutors who have received pressure by the gambling industry.
Officials conceded that they do not yet know how widespread the practice is and that there are many legitimate internet cafes in existence. The State also revealed that there are numerous ongoing investigations although no specifics were given.
Under Georgia law, violators are typically charged with commercial gambling or for violating Georgia’s RICO Act for racketeering. A commercial gambling charge carries a one to five year sentence and a $20,000 fine. A RICO violation carries a five to 20 year sentence along with a hefty fine. In most cases, the State will also attempt to seize any property connected to the gambling operation and institute forfeiture proceedings in an effort to take the property.
Our Atlanta criminal defense attorneys have been successful in representing individuals and business alleged to have been involved in “illegal” gambling activities. These cases have been prosecuted in both state and federal courts.