Missouri is stepping its efforts to crack down on what it considers illegal gambling terminals throughout the state. Yet, the governor, senate and Missouri Highway Patrol are at odds over the issue.
Lawmakers in Missouri to Clam Down on Illegal Slot Machines
Missouri lawmakers will step up their efforts to crack down on unregulated slot machines across the state. According to official sources, the number of untaxed machines has risen significantly amid a nationwide push to legalize sports betting.
To tackle the issue at home, Missouri policy makers will try to introduce a ban that will snuff out gambling terminals outright. The measure was proposed on Tuesday, January 14, by Senate President Dave Schatz who presented a draft plan that could lead to the phasing out of slot machines at specific venues, including truck stops, restaurants, and gas stations.
According to Schatz, these gambling terminals were biting in Missouri’s revenue generated through legalized gambling options. Schatz went on to declare the gambling terminals illegal:
“These games, these machines are being touted as legal. Obviously, we think they are wrong.”
The key lawmaker also allowed a personal sentiment slip while delivering his reasons for targeting slot machines – “it feels like I am walking into a casino,” Schatz specified.
On the flipside, the crackdown would have its political ramifications, as local media has reported that politically-connected companies have been placing gambling terminals all over state.
TNT Amusements and Torch Electronics have been two of the companies to battle it out legally, with TNT Amusements boss filing a lawsuit seeking the shut-down of Torch’s gambling terminals.
In St. Louis alone, there are 50 such gambling terminals alone.
A Popular Counter-Argument: Game of Skill, Not Chance
According to manufacturers trying to supplant their gambling terminals is not justified in law. They have claimed that because of the ability “to click on an icon”, their games should be categorized as games of skill, not chance – thus removing the gambling element, and exonerate them from any future crack down on illegal gambling.
This doesn’t seem to sit well with lawmakers. The Missouri Highway Patrol, though, has been actively filing signals against venues that have been wrongfully offering gambling products.
Furthermore, the state’s regulator, the Missouri Gaming Commission, has specifically explained that any gambling machine outsides the 13 licensed state casinos should be illegal. Therefore, all gambling terminals have to be shut down.
The Missouri Lottery has also joined in, issuing a warning to gambling terminals manufacturers and owners of businesses who allow their facilities to be used by such companies.
Will Missouri Have the Governor’s Aye?
While the issue is beginning to gather momentum with state lawmakers, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has said that he is not entirely convinced in the wrongfulness of gambling terminals outside casinos.
Specifically, Gov. Parson said that he would want to wait for a Platte Country court case to determine whether these machines are in fact legal.
Serious Consequences for all the Rest
If Missouri lawmakers push through with the issue and businesses are found guilty of having run illegal gambling operations, they stand to lose their licenses to sell liquor and lottery tickets.
Another thing to consider is Gov. Parson’s own stance. According to media outlets covering the story closely, the governor has received $20,000 from one Steve Miltenberger, owner of Torch Electronics who is now battling with TNT Amusements in court.