June 14, 2024 3 min read

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Fact-checked by Velimir Velichkov

Concerns over Harm and Lost Tax Revenue Mount in Missouri

Fears come amid the growing expansion and popularity of "no chance" gambling machines across the state

Currently, Missouri offers limited gambling activities. iGaming and sports betting are illegal, while visitors and residents can only gamble legally via the 13 casinos across the state. Yet, a type of gambling device called “no-chance,” or “pre-reveal” machine is widely spread in Missouri and they so far operate in a grey area.

The machines can commonly be found in convenience stores, gas stations and other small businesses. Torch Electronics, a company that provides those devices is currently tangled in a legal battle over the legality of its machines. Late last month, the Western District Court of Appeals reaffirmed a lower court’s decision that dismissed a lawsuit filed by Torch which sought to prevent the Missouri Highway Patrol from investigating the legality of its machines.

Yet, missing legislation in combination with insufficient efforts of state officials fails to prevent the statewide spread of the so-called no-chance gambling devices. This raises further concerns about Missouri missing out on tax revenue, as well as an uptick in addiction and an increase in the number of children gambling.

Considering that the aforementioned machines are not regulated this means that they do not pay taxes like casinos do. At the same time, there’s no requirement for those devices to set a specific payout, something that is standard practice for slots in casinos across the state. This puts the players at risk as there is no minimum payout required by law for those machines.

As noted, besides failing to meet the requirement for a minimum payout, the unregulated machines do not pay taxes. In contrast, casinos that currently hold a license in Missouri generated a whopping $461 million in taxes, according to American Gaming Association (AGA) data released by KSDK.

To make matters worse, the missing regulation for gambling devices also enables people under the age of 21 to gamble. While licensed casinos in Missouri require patrons to be 21 or older, the gambling machines found at gas stations and convenience stores are often accessed by underage individuals. This is evident by photographic evidence released by the publication. Those photos showed children using the controversial gambling machines on separate occasions at different locations.

No-Chance Gambling Machines, a National Epidemic

Chris Cylke, a spokesperson for the Association deemed the gambling machines “a national epidemic.” He warned that such gambling devices lack transparency and added: “People are putting themselves at risk.”

The gambling machines, which continue to operate across Missouri in a grey area, have captured the attention of lawmakers. But while some supported the legalization of those devices, others disagreed, saying that the machines have operated illegally so far without paying any taxes or adhering to the state’s gambling laws.

Journalist

Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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