🔥Casino group says rogue slot machines need to go because of ‘questionable’ cleanliness🔥

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Casino group says rogue slot machines need to go because of ‘questionable’ cleanliness

Dave McCall of St. Louis plays a digital slot machine game in South Public Market on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. An estimated 52 such machines, made by Torch Electronics, are in gas stations, restaurants and small grocery stores across the city. Photo by Troy Stolt, [email protected]

Troy Stolt

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Gaming Association, representing the state’s 13 licensed casinos, has called for state and local health departments to pull the plug on thousands of unregulated gaming machines that have popped up at gas stations, bars and clubs in recent years.The Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday that at least some of the state’s roughly 14,000 unregulated machines were in operation as the state grapples with the COVID-19 outbreak.The state has discouraged large gatherings to prevent spreading the virus, and Gov. Mike Parson announced last week that the state would close licensed casinos at least until March 30.The gaming association, which is pushing legislation to “eliminate illegal slot machines altogether,” said the machines pose a health threat.“Often lined up one right next to the other in gas stations and other establishments, the cleanliness of these illegal and unregulated slot machines is questionable,” Mike Winter, executive director of the association, said in a statement. “We believe the state should shut down these illegal slot machines, for the safety of our residents.” A study released March 17 by the National Institutes of Health said the new coronavirus was detectable for “up to two to three days” on plastic and stainless steel surfaces.Casinos and out-of-casino game operators have long been at odds, with casinos charging the unregulated machines eat into casino revenues, some of which funds education in Missouri.Gregg Keller, a Missouri GOP operative and spokesman for one of the state’s largest out-of-casino game operators, Torch Electronics, said Tuesday the machines were legal “so naturally they continue to be enjoyed by Missourians” during the coronavirus outbreak.A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Senior Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether the state health department could shut down the machines.A spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, which houses the Missouri Gaming Commission, did not immediately say whether staff that had been stationed in casinos had been dispatched to inspect establishments across the state for unlicensed games.The Gaming Commission has deemed the out-of-casino machines illegal, and the state Highway Patrol has referred dozens of illegal gambling cases to local prosecutors in recent months.But many county prosecutors have been reluctant to charge game operators with illegal gambling activity, saying they are awaiting the outcome of a case in Platte County.The Missouri Senate, meanwhile, has debated legislation to crack down on the devices, but it’s unclear whether the upper chamber will be able to approve the legislation this year.Leaders have suspended action in the chamber as the state grapples with the virus.

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Dave McCall of St. Louis plays a digital slot machine game in South Public Market on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. An estimated 52 such machines, made by Torch Electronics, are in gas stations, restaurants and small grocery stores across the city. Photo by Troy Stolt, [email protected]

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