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Deal orders crackdown on internet 'gambling' cafes

Governor Nathan Deal stands with state government officials to announce a plan to crack down on Internet gambling cafes.

Governor Nathan Deal stands with state government officials to announce a plan to crack down on Internet gambling cafes.

ATLANTA -- Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal ordered state authorities to crack down on illegal gambling dens masquerading as Internet cafes.

Deal said Thursday that there are already between 50 to 100 active online gambling operations in Georgia and that investigators believe firms are planning a "massive expansion" with hundreds of new outlets. He said the firms are "spreading the impression that the thwarting of the laws would be winked at."

Locally, the Albany City Commission voted Tuesday to place a moratorium on granting new business licenses to the operations out of a concern that the businesses may be circumventing Georgia's gambling laws.

The governor ordered the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies to strictly enforce Georgia's gambling ban, which he said extends to online gaming and Internet sweepstakes parlors.

GBI Director Vernon Keenan estimated hundreds of thousands of dollars are already being spent in these cafes each year. Keenan called it a "new twist in commercial gambling."