Missouri Sees New Lawsuit Filed Against Gambling Machines

A new lawsuit, filed by attorneys in Missouri on behalf of seven plaintiffs, seeks to address the gray market for such machines. The plaintiffs argue that they have been hurt by the illegal operations of the thousands of machines that are currently available in the state, and seek damages from the owners of the venues

A new lawsuit, filed by attorneys in Missouri on behalf of seven plaintiffs, seeks to address the gray market for such machines. The plaintiffs argue that they have been hurt by the illegal operations of the thousands of machines that are currently available in the state, and seek damages from the owners of the venues that host them – usually convenience stores that use the machines as a lifeline to plunge gaps and keep going. Some big names have been named in the latest filing.

Legal action against the machines though is something that casino operators would happily back, as they have been trying to shutter the gray market for these machines for many years now. Missouri though has always come short of discussing the issue more broadly in legislation. This is mostly to do because a lot of constituents run businesses that need video lottery terminals or VLTs in order to stay in business. The lawsuit alleges there is a political backchannel between companies and corrupt politicians, too, although not in as many words.

When the pandemic hit, these machines often proved the only way to stay open, many owners argue. And yet, casinos riposte that because of the sector, their own bottom lines had suffered and they had not been able to contribute nearly as much as they could have if the machines had not been allowed to operate in the first place.

The lawsuit names Warrenton Oil Co, an operator of convenience and gas stores, and Torch Electronics, as the defendants. Torch Electronics is an operator of such machines, and it has been assailed by disgruntled parties repeatedly over the past several years. Mally Inc. is another company which runs supermarkets, and a number of other parties that the attorneys argue are responsible for the proliferation of what they insist is an illegal gambling market.

Unfair Practices and Vulnerable Consumers

Torch, however, is not the manufacturer of these machines. That is a company based in North Carolina, called Banilla Games. But the plaintiffs are not just fighting the legality of the sector per se – in fact, they are more interested in what they see as unfair practices by the machines. Wins are usually rounded down to the nearest whole increment, the lawsuit alleges. So, if you were to win $5.99, players would only be paid back $5 instead.

The lawsuit further takes a hit against the entire institution of these machines, arguing that the games are created in a flashy manner that wrongfully suggests that players may in fact win money. Another issue the lawsuit alleges is that there are hardly sufficient consumer protection measures to keep vulnerable people safe.

The lawsuit goes on to allege that “even toddlers” have been seen gambling at machines run by Torch. The suit also goes on to name various political donations the company, and other defendants, made in order to “guarantee” that no legislation moves against them.

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