Ga. Video Poker Ban Takes Effect

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Ga. Video Poker Ban Takes Effect

ATLANTA -- It's game over for video poker operators in Georgia following yesterday's deadline for shipping the electronic gaming machines out of the state

The machines have been unplugged and covered since ruling last month to outlaw them statewide.

Electronic gaming machines popped up in Georgia when they were banned in South Carolina two years ago. People who win on the machines are supposed to be rewarded with merchandise or coupons valued up to $5, but some operators were suspected of paying out in cash.

Video poker opponents have also pointed to problems like crime and gambling addiction associated with the machines. The state legislature passed a law last year that would have banned the machines by Dec. 31, 2001, but the law got bogged down in court when amusement companies filed appeals trying to strike it down.

The state Supreme Court ruled in favor of the ban earlier this year, and an effort to delay the ban in federal court failed lat week. Beginning today, even having an unplugged machine as a novelty will be illegal. Those caught breaking the law will face a fine up to $1,000.