(PLATTE CITY, Mo.) A Platte County Circuit Court Judge handed down a guilty verdict on Tuesday to a Kansas-based company accused of promoting gambling.
State regulators estimate that about 14,000 "no chance” games can be played in gas stations and convenience stores in Missouri.
“We just recently obtained a verdict against a company Integrity Vending LLC for the crime of promoting gambling,” Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said.
It’s these “no chance” games that were at issue when Zahnd charged Integrity Vending LLC with promoting gambling in the first degree.
“Missouri of course allows gambling,” Zahnd said. “We have gambling in rowboat casinos and the lottery is gambling but other than those places, Missouri law almost certainly prevents gambling elsewhere.”
A local police investigation found a game similar to a slot machine popping up at convenience stores in Parkville.
“These machines didn’t really have anybody looking to see if they were actually fair, what the take was on these machines, how much people could win back once they deposited their money and so I think those are concerns that people rightly have about these machines,” Zahnd said.
The “no chance” games at issue invite players to insert money.
You select a game but you can opt to see your outcome before moving forward with your wager, but if the preview shows that a player will lose, the player must still follow through with the bet to play again.
Integrity's attorney argued this feature removed the element of chance, so the games were not gambling devices.
Zahnd didn't think Missouri law agreed.
“This verdict ought to send a message all across Missouri that even though these machines have become commonplace at many convenience stores and other places, it’s clear that these are illegal,” Zahnd said.
The judge sided with Platte County, marking the games as illegal.
The ruling could spell trouble for the other companies like Integrity manufacturing these games found all over Missouri.
“I’m hoping that this case gives a roadmap to other police and prosecutors in other counties to begin to enforce Missouri law against these machines,” Zahnd said.
Integrity Vending LLC will be sentenced on November 23. The company could be fined up to $10,000.