The future of Kentucky's Gray games ban bill was uncertain last week. But Governor Andy Beshear signed it into law on Thursday. The Kentucky Merchants and Amusement Coalition (KY MAC) is waiting for the Kentucky House Licensing, Operations, and Administrative Regulations Committee to start discussing House Bill 594 on March 2.
The Governor's Conference
Gov. Beshear (D) stated in a weekly press conference that he signed the gaming bill that state Representative Killian Timoney, R-Nicholasville sponsored. It bands gaming sites from installing gaming machines on their premises.
Any individual who breaks the law is liable for a $25,000 fine for each gadget. They include machine operators, owners, managers, supervisors, and finance staff.
Kentucky has witnessed a heated debate over machines in recent years. Its charitable organizations and horse racing facilities supported the gaming machines ban, claiming that they will promote illegal gambling. Yet, the state permits charitable gaming, a state lottery, horse racing, and parimutuel horse racing.
Game distributors, manufacturers, organizations, and enterprises hosting the machines opposed the ban stating that the state legalizes the games as they don't violate its gaming law. Prominent Technologies and Pace-O-Matic liaised with relevant county authorities before partnering with restaurants and convenience stores. They claimed that skill games allow players to win, relying on their hand-eye coordination and memory.
Even so, veterans' fraternal organizations' representatives claimed that gaming machines have negatively affected their operations and reduced their contributions to civic issues. Businesses offering the games defended them, saying that they helped them survive during the Coronavirus pandemic since they earn them a steady income.
What Is the Governor's Opinion About the Games?
Beshear is a pro-gaming governor despite ensuring that Kentucky monitors legal offers. Still, he backs the proposed sports gambling amendment that is in the Senate.
The governor recently informed reporters that the state needs to have a free casino gaming industry. But, he opposes gray games saying that the state doesn't regulate them. Yet, their operators don't pay taxes and aren't concerned about responsible gambling.
Kentucky's new gaming law prohibits the use and installation of gray machines in all local casinos. Besides, facilities that have been using them will have to remove them immediately after the law starts being implemented, 90 days after the General Assembly session ends on March 30.
Wes Jackson, KY MAC's President, vehemently opposed HB 594, claiming that it will kill small businesses and make the state's gaming market unfair. His group represents many game-hosting facilities in the state.
The Law Has Piqued AGA's Interest
The American Gaming Association (AGA) has been urging the federal government and states to crack the whip on all unlicensed gaming operators. It states that Americans wager over half a trillion dollars on gray machines and other illegal gaming markets.
Bill Miller, AGA's CEO, and President, sent a letter to association members on Thursday commending Kentucky for passing HB 594. Moreover, it is the first state in the country to pass a single law prohibiting illegal gaming machines.