AGA Urges Importance of Tackling Illegal Gambling Machines

Illegal gambling machines continue to proliferate in the United States despite more efforts going into regulating the gambling industry, AGA cautions. 

Gambling Machines without License Pose a Threat

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has released a new report looking into the threat of illegal and unregulated gambling machines that have continued to proliferate across the United States despite regulators’ better efforts. 

In the “Skilled at Deception: How Unregulated Gaming Machines Endanger Consumers and Dilute Investments in Local Economies” report, the trade group explained that such devices had not gone through the same rigorous scrutiny as licensed operators have and as such they posed a threat to consumers. 

Not only that but illegal machines are linked to various criminal operations, including but not limited to money laundering and drug trafficking. Without proper intervention by a regulated authority, argues AGA, these machines are often linked to fraudulent outcomes that disproportionately favor the house. 

AGA was alarmed that allowing such machines to operate was dangerous not just to adults but also children, as they do not necessarily stick to any responsible gambling practices. In fact, they may target vulnerable individuals, the report said. The organization explained that a part of the activity could have been going with the unwitting approval of legal businesses.

AGA president of government relations and gaming policy counsel Jessica Feil added: ” Legal gaming provides immense benefits to the communities it serves – and operating with a gaming license is a privilege that our industry takes seriously.”

Because of that, AGA argued that communities and owners should seek to actively remove such machines from their properties and ensure that any such machines are operated fairly and hold the pertinent license. 

Beware of “Gray” Area Markets 

AGA explained that many games are continually trying to take advantage of legal loopholes that allow them to bend the rules in their favor or operate in a sort of gray area. The report explicitly mentioned “sweepstakes,” “skill,” and “no-chance” games, pointing to their dubious legal foothold in some states.

The report mentioned a number of recent law enforcement actions taken against such machines in several states, including California, Tennessee, New York, Pennsylvania, and others. AGA encouraged manufacturers of gaming devices to follow a path that would allow them to obtain all the necessary licenses and assured that there is sufficient market demand to cover fully regulated operations.

The rest of the report is a reminder of the practices upheld by the regulated business. With 44 states now regulating gambling in some form, the casino gaming industry alone generates $261 billion in economic impact in the United States, with $41 billion paid in direct gaming tax revenue.

AGA’s report pulled some quotes from prominent law enforcement persons who have been spearheading the fight against illegal gambling. One such is Arizona attorney general Mark Brnovich who previously served as a director at the state’s department of gaming. 

“History has taught us that unregulated gambling gives rise to an array of legal and social concerns and ultimately erodes public confidence in the safety and integrity of the whole gaming industry,” Brnovich was cited saying. 

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