Kroger, Gaming Machines

Georgia Residents Fear Impact Of Gaming Machines At Kroger Grocery Stores

Despite no cash prizes, the gaming machines' presence has Georgia residents fearful of illegal activity ensuing.

Georgia residents are speaking out about the potential negative impact of gaming machines in grocery stores. Popular chain Kroger has introduced the machines at some of its locations.

Fox 5 reports that the machines will disperse prizes, and need coins to begin play. However, unlike typical gambling machines, players do not receive cash for their wins. While the slots are part of a pilot program by Kroger, citizens in the South Fulton area have concerns.

For many, including business and political leaders in the community, the machines are an exploitative way for Kroger to seek profit. This feels especially manipulative to the area, which hosts a majority Black population.

“I think it’s a bad image for our neighborhood and on this side of town. I’m trying to figure out why this store was selected,” shared resident Felicia Conn-Payton to the news outlet.

She added, “Upgrade the store and that will probably increase the revenue here. That’s what we are looking for. We’re not looking to have gaming slot machines inside a grocery store where families are trying to shop for groceries.”  

South Fulton Councilwoman Natasha Williams Brown also contacted Kroger’s corporate office to address the potential “unwanted behaviors.”

“You introduce machines that have a history of inviting unwanted behaviors into the community and causing problems, illegal payouts,” she explained.

However, Kroger maintains that its intentions behind the slot machines are not to cause distress. Furthermore, a portion of the earnings will go toward Georgia’s Hope Scholarship program. They also stressed that the machines would not be prominently displayed within the store.

“The locations of the coin-operated amusement machines were chosen with our customers’ convenience and safety in mind. They were placed in partitioned areas of the store that are not visible from the outside and are separated from store traffic,” explained a representative for Kroger. “Additionally, we are excited to bring additional support to the lottery-funded Hope Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships and grants to nearly 84,000 Georgia youth annually.”

Despite the potential benefit, the risk does not outweigh the reward for elected officials as they continue to advocate for the machines’ removal.

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