The controversial issue of slot machines could end up going to the Missouri Supreme Court in Jefferson City.
The “St. Joseph News-Press” reported today that a judge in western Missouri’s Platte County ruled that two “no chance” slot machines found at a Parkville convenience store violate state gambling laws. Judge Thomas Fincham found the company, Integrity Vending of Kansas, guilty of felony promoting gambling by setting up and operating a slot machine.
That’s a class E felony. Judge Fincham has scheduled a November 23 sentencing hearing in Platte City. The “News-Press” reports Integrity Vending could face a fine of $10,000.
Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd prosecuted the case. He says despite the fact that the slot machines are seen in many Missouri convenience stores and gas stations, they are illegal slot machines, from his perspective.
Zahnd, who was first elected in 2002, has the longest tenure of any elected prosecutor currently serving the Kansas City metro.
The slot machine issue was the subject of at least three hearings in late 2019 by the Missouri House Special Interim Committee on Gaming, which was chaired by State Rep. Dan Shaul, R-Imperial.
During an October 2019 hearing, Chairman Shaul predicted that whichever sides loses the Platte County case would appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol testified at that hearing, saying the number of complaints about illegal gambling in Missouri quadrupled in 2019. Most of those complaints were about alleged illegal slot machines.
The Missouri Gaming Commission testified in 2019 that any illegal gaming machines used in Missouri negatively impact casinos and the state Lottery, reducing taxes and funding for education and veterans.
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