The Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Missouri Prosecutors Association will testify Thursday in Jefferson City before a House gaming committee investigating the issue of alleged illegal slot machines.
A large crowd is expected to attend the House Special Interim Committee on Gaming hearing, which begins at noon at the Statehouse.
The committee will hear testimony from Missouri State Highway Patrol Lieutenant Justin McCullough and from Missouri Prosecutors Association legal counsel Steve Sokoloff.
During the committee’s last hearing in September, Missouri Lottery Executive Director May Scheve Reardon testified that illegal slot machines are hurting public education in the Show-Me State. She says the I-44 corridor has many of them, and told lawmakers about one Lottery sales representative whose territory goes from St. James to Lebanon.
“Down that I-44 corridor in six months, her route alone was down $800,000. That’s an estimated $3.2 million sales lost for six months,” Scheve Reardon testified on September 5.
Alleged illegal slot machines can be found in bars, restaurants, gas stations and convenience stores.
Committee Chairman Dan Shaul, R-Imperial, tells Missourinet that illegal slot machines cost Missouri education at least $50 million last year. He says the illegal machines “are everywhere” in the state and in his district in eastern Missouri’s Jefferson County.
“But I think what we have to worry about is not what happened last year, it’s what’s going to happen next year because this is not a plateau. We are going to continue to see the loss,” Chairman Shaul told Missourinet after the September hearing.
Missouri Gaming Commission Executive Director David Grothaus testified in August that any illegal gaming machines used in Missouri negatively impact casinos and the state Lottery, reducing taxes and funding for education and veterans. Grothaus has called for the state to develop a coordinated effort to stop illegal slot machines.
Grothaus notes there’s one pending criminal case in western Missouri’s Platte County, in the Kansas City area.
Thursday is also your first opportunity to testify before the committee, and House officials have encouraged those who want to testify to call ahead. The hearing is expected to last for two to three hours.
Anyone who wants to testify Thursday should call E.J. Fleischmann in Chairman Shaul’s office. That number is (573) 751-2504.
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