published Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Undercover gambling sting nets second arrest

For the second week in a row, a Dade County business owner was charged for paying off on video poker machines, Sheriff Patrick Cannon said.

Patsy Louise Whited, 64, owner of P’s Variety on Georgia Highway 301, was charged Tuesday with commercial gambling and keeping a place of gambling. Nine video poker machines were seized.

Sheriff Cannon said an undercover officer played the video poker machines on Monday and was paid for his winnings. Having and playing video poker machines is legal in Georgia, he said, but only as video games, not for real gambling.

Last week, Dade authorities arrested Louis “Pappy” Daniel Dodson at Pappy’s Barbecue on Georgia Highway 299 and seized 11 machines.

Detectives were tipped off by complaints that the restaurant was paying cash to patrons who won on video poker, keno and other games of chance. County Detective Adam Reyes said thousands of dollars could have changed hands at the site each day.

On Wednesday evening, Jimmy Wright, a deacon at Woodlawn Baptist Church near P’s Variety, said he applauded the actions of law enforcement to stop the gambling operations.

“I’m not sure how much of a problem there is here, but anytime an operation like that is closed down, I think anyone with moral values is glad,” he said.

Mr. Wright called gambling “an additional burden on the poor.”

He said the church opposes gambling, even on the Georgia Lottery.

Sheriff Cannon said gambling investigations in Dade County are continuing. Undercover officers played video poker at nine Dade businesses in recent days, he said, and the two businesses that made illegal payoffs were busted.

“We’ve had several complaints from family members concerned that loved ones are spending their whole paychecks on these gambling machines and stores were paying off,” Sheriff Cannon said.

about Pam Sohn...

Pam Sohn has been reporting or editing Chattanooga news for 25 years. A Walden’s Ridge native, she began her journalism career with a 10-year stint at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. She came to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 1999 after working at the Chattanooga Times for 14 years. She has been a city editor, Sunday editor, wire editor, projects team leader and assistant lifestyle editor. As a reporter, she also has covered the police, ...

about Judy Walton...

Judy Walton has worked 25 years at the Chattanooga Times and the Times Free Press as an editor and reporter focusing on government coverage and investigations. At various times she has been an assistant metro editor, region reporter and editor, county government reporter, government-beat team leader, features editor and page designer. Originally from California, Walton was brought up in a military family and attended a dozen schools across the country. She earned a journalism degree ...

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