Henry County

Georgia Lottery employee took bribes to pass store inspections, GBI says

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says an inspector with the Georgia Lottery Corporation has been allowing stores to pay him in exchange for passing their inspections.

The GBI says Michael Jerome Kessler Sr. convinced at least three stores with coin-operated machines regulated by the Lottery Corporation to pay him.

Arrest documents obtained by Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Mark Winne say Kessler is charged with bribery for accepting three $2,000 payments. Each document references a different location for those stores.

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A Georgia Lottery Corporation spokesperson says Kessler was employed as a compliance inspector. He’s accused of accepting bribes in Henry County.

“Integrity is the bedrock of the Lottery and its mission, by the way. Essentially, people are making bets. They’re gambling when they’re using machines across the state or when they are betting on any other activities that we allow in Georgia, and we don’t want a criminal element to seep into that,” said state Senator Emanuel Jones, who is part of the Georgia Lottery Commission and lives in Henry County.

The spokesperson said that “employees are held to the highest standard to ensure that we achieve our important mission of maximizing revenues for HOPE and Pre-K.”


They say that as soon as the GBI reported that their information against Kessler was credible, he was fired.

“I don’t believe anyone who’s been accused of accepting bribes should be affiliated any way with our lottery in our great state,” said state Sen. Jones.

GBI agents searched Kessler’s Rockdale County home on Monday. Henry County Jail records show he was booked on Wednesday evening.

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