There are currently more than 14,000 unregulated slot machines located in the state of Missouri, and the Missouri Gaming Association has been working on getting those removed. These machines are found in bars, restaurants, and gas stations throughout the state, and it is taking money away from the casino industry in the state.
The Missouri Gaming Association has cited many other reasons for the slot machines to be shut down, but now they are using the coronavirus as their next reason.
The Missouri Gaming Association is hoping to get the support of local and state health officials as they claim the slot machines are dirty and pose a severe health risk. The state of Missouri has discouraged large public gatherings to stop the spread of the disease, but these unregulated slot machines were still in use throughout the state.
Governor Mike Parson has already ordered that the 13 licensed casinos in the state be shut down due to the coronavirus. The Missouri Gaming Association agreed with the decision by the governor, but now they want the slot machines to be shut down as well.
Several public health officials have noted that the coronavirus could be detected for up to three days on plastic and stainless steel devices.
The Missouri Gaming Association is also keeping a close eye on video lottery terminals. The MGA says that these terminals closely resemble slot machines, and they are opposed to any future legalization.
Missouri state health officials have yet to make an official ruling, but one could be coming if facing enough pressure by the Missouri Gaming Association.
All Eyes on Platte County
The main reason that these unregulated slot machines are still operating in bars and gas stations throughout the state is that prosecutors are hesitant to press any charges. The Missouri Highway Patrol has turned in dozens of illegal casino cases to prosecutors throughout the state, but everyone is waiting for a decision in Platte County, Mo.
In Platte County, there is currently a case awaiting trial, and that decision could have a huge impact on unregulated gambling machines going forward. Integrity Gaming out of Kansas is the one that is currently being charged, and the judge’s decision could make way for a number of other cases throughout the state.
The Missouri Gaming Association would have the power that they needed to go after other major suppliers of these unregulated casinos.
Linn County, Mo., has already seen a similar case, and there have been charges filed. Torch Electronics has been charged with first-degree promoting gambling, a charge that would come with a $10,000 fine.
Prosecuting Attorney Shiante McMahon officially charged the company after three machines were seized by Brookfield police. There has yet to be a court date set, but Torch Electronics has maintained that they are confident that they will win the case.
The Torch Electronics terminals are very similar to slot machines that are in the casinos, but the money is paid out in a much different way. Anyone playing the Torch Electronics games will be paid by a cashier if they win the game.
No money is paid out directly from the machines. These types of machines are located in several other states throughout the country.
Even though these machines are unregulated by the Missouri Gaming Association, they do bring in revenue for the state. These machines have raised over $50 million in tax revenue since they have been implemented.
In contrast, the licensed casinos in the state generated almost $370 million in tax revenue in 2018 alone.