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Mike Johnson January 6, 2020 3 min read
Gov. Parson Not Sure if Video Terminals Should Be Considered Gambling
Gov. Parson is still uncertain whether video terminals across Missouri should be classified as a form of gambling.
Video Terminal Blues in Missouri
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has argued that the status of video gambling terminals in the state is still unclear, despite regulatory attempts to limit their availability in Missouri.
According to the Associated Press a case is presently being overseen in a Platte County court, which could provide lawmakers with guidance as to what the legal status of gambling terminals is.
So far, the machines are allowed on premises such as truck stops, convenience stores and gas stops all over Missouri. However, critics have said that they should be confined to casinos and other big licensed venues.
Gov. Parson responded to written questions by the Post-Dispatch, a local media, saying that the first step towards resolving the impasse would be to have cut-and-dry rules as to what constitutes gambling and what doesn’t.
Gov. Parson at Odds with Lawmakers
Meanwhile, Missouri Highway Patrol leaders have dismissed the idea of video terminals as non-gambling. The Patrol submitted an opinion with the House Committee in October and there have been “dozens of criminal referrals to prosecutors.”
Polk County Prosecutor Ken Ashlock has also joined the critics camp, arguing that by taking video terminals outside casinos, owners can skip on a lot of the tax otherwise levied on slot machines on the premises of any active casino within the state.
The governor has also faced some criticism from opponents who pointed out to his connections to Steve Miltenberger, the owner of Torch Electronics, a manufacturer of video terminals. Mr. Miltenberger has contributed some $20,000 to Gov. Parson’s re-election war chest.
Mr. Miltenberger’s company has turned down to comment for the Post-Dispatch, the Associated Press added.
In the meantime, Gov. Parson has urged all parties to come to a positive outcome, bringing up a popular refrain as to whether video terminals constitute a game of skill or a game of chance:
“The distinction between chance and skill determining the outcome of a game is fundamental to the legal analysis of whether operation of a machine violates state law. Games of chance are subject to gaming laws, and if the people want to change the gaming laws, they have the ability to do so using the legislative process, through a ballot initiative, or constitutional amendment.”
Sports Betting in Missouri
Early in December, 2019, SB 567 authored by Sen. Denny Hoskins and SB 754 by Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer were submitted for deliberation in the Senate. Both bills called for the much-dreaded integrity fees which have been ruled out against across the U.S.
However, the concept was reincarnated in the latest sports legalization pitches by the senators. While an integrity fee is unlikely to pass, state lawmakers are openly voicing their support for sports betting lest the state misses out on much needed revenue.