The American Gaming Association (AGA) has partnered with the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) to launch a new campaign to combat the unchecked spread of illegal gaming machines across the US.
The campaign will focus on providing state and local policymakers, law enforcement, and regulatory agencies with new resources and tools to stop the proliferation of unregulated gaming machines, targeting key states such as Pennsylvania, Missouri and Virginia where the spread of unregulated machines has been particularly extreme.
The two associations have released a fact sheet that distinguishes between the regulated casino, lottery and distributed gaming markets and the unregulated, highlighting the negative consequences of the spread of illegal machines.
This includes an increase in criminal activity and a lack of player protections, along with potential solutions to combat the problem by establishing small state and local government task forces.
“Stamping out the illegal market that threatens the safety of consumers will always be one of the gaming industry’s highest priorities,” said AGA president and CEO Bill Miller. “We are proud to work with the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers and our fellow industry partners to combat the spread of illegal machines.
“The AGA is encouraged that policymakers in some states such as Virginia have begun to recognize the dangers of these machines and have taken recent legislative action toward outlawing them. Unfortunately, other jurisdictions where these machines have become pervasive may believe their only recourse is to regulate and tax them. Rewarding bad behavior is not the answer, and we hope our education efforts will make it clear that the only real solution is to stop the spread of these devices.”
AGEM executive director Marcus Prater commented: “The regulated gaming industry has rarely been more united on a singular issue and now we have a tool to address the misinformation and deception that unregulated machine companies use to confound law enforcement, the courts, and local citizens.
“The spread of these machines represents a serious threat to the overall regulated market that has invested billions in infrastructure while also creating thousands of jobs and substantial tax benefits in the communities they serve. Moreover, unregulated machines prey on confused players who see slot machine symbols and think they’re getting a fair chance when they absolutely are not.”
More than 20 gaming associations have joined the AGA and AGEM in opposition to the spread of illegal gaming, including the National Indian Gaming Association, the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, the International Center for Responsible Gaming, the National Council on Problem Gambling, multiple state casino and tribal associations, and both of the leading independent gaming equipment test labs.