Missouri Legislators at Odds Over Proper way to Regulate Illegal Gambling Machines

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing issues raised from illegal slot machines that have emerged all over the state of Missouri.  With an estimated 14,000 machines spread across the state, it’s not an insignificant issue. So it’s not surprising that some disagreement over the exact way to regulate, but the reasons for the disagreement range from too harsh punishment to the lack of expanded gambling to push in lieu of these illegal gambling machines.  The St. Louis Post Dispatch explains:

An effort to crack down on rogue slot machine operators is facing opposition from a bipartisan group of lawmakers who object to proposed penalties against business owners, among other provisions.

Sen. Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville, shelved his bill Monday after other lawmakers also complained the proposed crackdown — which would clearly outlaw the slot-machine type games spreading to gas stations, bars and clubs — was not accompanied by a corresponding expansion of legal gambling in the state.

Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, has said that the state must address illegal gambling before it considers new forms of legalized betting. “Until we can fix illegal gaming in this state, I don’t see how we can advance legal gaming,” Schatz said at a news conference last week.

Some lawmakers said the Cunningham’s proposed penalties for operating an illegal slot machine were too harsh, requiring the supervisor of liquor control to pull a store’s liquor license if law enforcement finds an illegal game. The operator would have 10 days to remove the games in question before the state is required to act.

The debate continues in the Missouri Senate all while various political contributions flow in from the machines manufacturers.  It’s clear that enough factions in Missouri see the necessity to regulate these machines but time will tell which direction the legislation will go.  

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