Albany GA Bookies Follow Local Gambling Case With Interest

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A high profile Albany Georgia illegal gambling case has many local bookies cringing.

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The state of Georgia, which has long maintained a “hands off” approach to bookmaking, and Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Julia Slater’s office, have sought criminal charges against Albany businessman Bob Brooks.

They are also looking to seize property that was the sight of a gambling raid in June of 2014. 

“There’s only one way to proceed with forfeiture (of property) in this case and that’s through the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) commercial gambling statute,” said Attorney Alex Kaplan, who is representing Brooks in the civil portion of his case.

“Georgia law in such cases includes archaic language that basically says the state must prove that the accused participated in collecting earnings from a gambling place. That’s a felony, but it doesn’t apply in this case. A second state statute prohibits renting a location to use as a gambling place. Every witness who has testified in this case has testified that Mr. Brooks rented a gambling place, which is a misdemeanor. There is no grounds to seize his property.”

Fourteen participants were arrested during the June 2014 GBI raid at Brooks’ Fish House restaurant property at 2650 N. Jefferson St., including former Albany Mayor Willie Adams along with several other prominent businessmen.  All but four have agreed to community service in lieu of prison time. 

“Mr. Brooks is, I think, playing a game through his attorneys (Kaplan and his firm’s senior law partner, Jerry Brimberry, who is defending Brooks against criminal charges),” the assistant district attorney said. “I think, though, that the more that comes out about this case in the public, the more incentive he has to settle.

“That’s really our ultimate goal, to reach a settlement. It’s not lost on us that this is not the crime of the century and Mr. Brooks is not some kind of kingpin. But he has also indicated that he feels untouchable, and by bringing his attorneys into this fight, he’s opened the door for forfeiture action against his property. He’s got the most to lose here.”

The case itself involved poker but the authorities crackdown has sent shivers down the spines of those involved in any form of illegal gambling activity whether it be games of chance or sports wagering.

- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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