Debit cards issued to provide assistance to welfare recipients were used to withdraw cash at ATMs in strip clubs, casinos, bingo halls and amusement parks, a 9News investigation found.

As a result, more than $1 million in welfare funds goes to ATM owners and banks through transaction fees every year.

“When you see the type of obvious abuses that you’ve shown, it says there are people on welfare that should not be,” said Jon Caldara of the conservative watchdog group Independence Institute.

The 9News investigation included the review of 222,000 transactions involving Colorado Quest cards, the state-issued debit cards welfare recipients use to access cash at ATMs. The transactions occurred during a six-month period in

While state law bans welfare transactions at liquor stores, casinos and bingo halls, it does not at strip clubs.

But the 9News investigation found numerous examples of cash withdrawals at businesses where transactions are banned