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AGA issues warning on unregulated gambling machines

Unregulated gambling devices are a threat both to consumers and critical state tax revenues. That’s the main takeaway from a recent report by the American Gaming Association (AGA) titled, Skilled at Deception: How Unregulated Gaming Machines Endanger Consumers and Dilute Investments in Local Economies.

Though the title is a mouthful, the white paper is blunt and straight to the point – unregulated gambling devices are more likely to cheat players, benefit organized crime, and rob government of critical tax revenue. That last point is particularly relevant as state governments attempt to cope with the massive, unexpected expenses associated with the ongoing pandemic.

The AGA says that the best way to combat illegal gambling devices is robust law enforcement. The report points out that while some in law enforcement see illegal gambling devices as a low priority, they exist outside the realm of compliance and are a threat to problem gamblers. Unregulated gambling machines, usually some form of video slots, are never checked to insure that players aren’t getting cheated, so obvious incentives to cheat are built into the black market devices.

In a statement to the media, AGA Vice President of Government Relations and Gaming Policy Counsel Jessica Feil commented on the report saying, “Legal gaming provides immense benefits to the communities it serves – and operating with a gaming license is a privilege that our industry takes seriously. Unfortunately, there’s been a rapid increase of unregulated gaming machines that exist in the shadows, taking advantage of loopholes and flouting the law, with little to no oversight. These machines ultimately endanger consumers and communities, fueling problem gambling and crime while drawing important tax revenue away from states.”

The report warns that unchecked illegal gambling machines are on the rise in the United States and that only a robust effort by law enforcement can stop them.