It seems taught the state of Missouri is being flooded by illegal slot machines and some residents clearly have a problem with that. Lately, almost 300 Missourians have asked for the state regulators to investigate the recent increase in the number of slot machines across the state.
The general counsel of the Missouri Gaming Commission has recently filed a report to the Missouri Lottery Commission stating that 280 citizens have called the agency-established hotline to report illegal slot machines. The illegal slots are hurting the revenues of the state’s licensed gambling establishments which include state lottery and 13 casinos.
The reported slot machines are mostly set at bars and gas stations. They operate in pretty much the same way as in the classic casinos. Players deposit the money and place bets in hope that the machine will spin their way and reward them with a payout. However, unlike in casinos, these games are unregulated.
This means that there’s no player protection to prevent disproportionately low payouts. Also, no portion of the revenue goes to public education or to the organizations that help gamblers fight their addiction.
The gaming commission deals with some of the reports on its own, launching investigations into illegal operations. Other reports are forwarded to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Ed Grewach from the gaming commission said that most of the machines found during their inspections were illegal.
The report submitted by the gaming commission reflects the frustration with the spreading of Missouri slot machines across the state which is supported by some of the most established companies in the state, including St. Louis and Kansas City. These companies, such as Torch Electronic use their political connections to get away with placing slots at truck stops, liquor stores, and gas stations. So far, the commission hasn’t been able to put a stop to this practice.
Related Article: (Missouri Slot Player Sues Game Manufacturer)
Once again, the legislation to regulate the games and tax them has been introduced to the State Senate. The legislative proposal includes a provision that will see all businesses caught with illegal machines prohibited from further being a part of a regulated gambling program. In addition, these businesses will no more be able to sell lottery licenses.
So far, the efforts to remove illegal slots have been only partially successful. Only some cases were taken to the court by the local prosecutors. One of those cases is currently in front of the court in Lynn County. Tritium International Consultants of Blue Springs is being sued over illegal slots in this county. The ruling is expected in January and could provide some clarity and guidance for lawmakers. Their next session is also scheduled for January.
On the other hand, another company called out by the commission, Torch Electronics, is suing the state over harassment. They claim that the highway patrol has engaged in unlawful efforts to crack down on thousands of slot machines placed in gas stations owned by Warrenton Oil. Their case, however, won’t be back at court until March.
Source: Missourians complain to gambling regulators about the spread of slot machines from STLToday.com.