Bill That Would Ban Unregulated Slot Machine Advances In State Legislature

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – In Kentucky, there are currently three forms of legal gambling, lottery, charity gambling and pari-mutuel betting. There is a fourth form of gambling that operates in the “grey area” of the law. On Tuesday, a bill banning an unregulated form of gambling passed the Kentucky House and is now heading to the Senate.

Store owners who carry these games known as “grey machines” say that these slots are engines for business. Some call them “games of skill”.

“These gray machines take away legally adopted forms of gambling like lottery, charity gambling and horse racing,” said Republican Sen. Damon Thayer of Georgetown.

Historically, bills like HB 608, have not made it out of committee during General Assembly sessions. During this legislative session, the bill is moving forward and this worries some companies.

The business leaders we spoke to say that with many people struggling due to inflation, high gas and food prices, people need all the help they can get and they think that gray machines can help.

Some store managers like Corey Edwards say money from games has helped during the pandemic.

“We can pay our employees well and we can give them bonuses. They can get more work and more hours. It also takes us away from the store to be with our families. It helped us so much and without it I don’t think we would be here,” Edwards said.

Rajen Patel is the marketing director of Prominent Technologies, a company that has “grey machinery,” which would be unplugged if HB 608 becomes law. Patel thinks many stores would face a big problem.

“There are hundreds of stores that have these games, from gas stations to restaurants, and removing them will take a lot of money out of those businesses,” Patel said.

As for other store owners with gray machines, time is running out and they want to be heard before the final vote.

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