McDonough gambling machine owner pleads guilty to state charges

The owner of a company licensed by the state to operate video gambling machines has pleaded guilty to lying about how much money he made on them.

Sandip Patel, a 41-year-old McDonough resident and owner of Sudama Resorts, Monday pleaded guilty to three counts of commercial gambling and was sentenced to one year of house arrest and four years probation, according to the Macon Telegraph. The plea arrangement includes a promise from Patel that he will testify for the state in other gambling cases, if needed.

Patel was among 10 arrested in October 2015 as part of a sweep of businesses across central and south Georgia by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Lottery Corp. All of the machines seized in the raid belong to Sudama Resorts.

Credit: Willoughby Mariano

Credit: Willoughby Mariano

The machines are commonly seen in gas stations and pool halls and resemble video poker machines. Under state law, owners of the machines are not allowed to pay cash to winners. At the time of the raids, GBI officials said an undercover investigation determined players were receiving cash payouts at more than a quarter of the locations where Sudama machines were placed.

According to the Telegraph, investigators discovered Patel was dramatically under-reporting how much money the machines were making. Prior to July 1, 2015, owners of the machines were responsible for reporting the take, but a new state system that automatically reported earnings showed Sudama machines took in much more.