- Some reports suggest as many as 50,000 illegal slot machines in the state
- So called ‘stop and go’ sites have been highlighted as a key issue
Illegal gambling machines have allegedly been on the rise in Pennsylvania, with State Senator Chuck McIlhinney reportedly recently issuing a warning to those businesses in the state offering illegal slot machines and taking liquor laws into their own hands, telling them that they will get caught.
Pennsylvania is currently working on addressing a budget shortfall of $2.2 billion – with online casinos and betting being mooted as a potential way to solve this – yet it remains defiant in clamping down on those breaking gambling and alcohol laws.
Possible gambling expansion
During a committee meeting last Tuesday, it has been reported that Senator McIlhinney claimed there were up to “50,000” illegal slot machines operating across Pennsylvania and that it was his was committee’s responsibility to enforce the current law.
However, the state legislature has been considering a plethora of changes to the state’s casino laws by offering an expansion of things such as allowing slots and gaming machines to be placed in restaurants and taverns.
As well as the above potential change, there is also discussion about the authorisation of online casinos, daily fantasy sports, drafting new sports betting regulations and even allowing slots in airports and convenience stores.
Stop and go’s
However, until the law has been changed, the issue of illegal gambling and unlicensed liquor sales appears to be a real problem with so called stop and go’s a highlighted issue.
In 2013, Pennsylvania sanctioned tavern gaming at certain establishments licensed by the state’s liquor control board.
In order to be granted one of these licences, venues were required to have at least 30 chairs regularly providing food and drink to the public.
However, it is alleged that some sites found a way around this by stacking 30 chairs stacked up against a wall to bypass the rule but still gain the restaurant licence and be able to offer gaming machines to the public, becoming known colloquially as ‘stop and go’s’ as they only actually sell snacks, sweets and sodas with slot machines available to play.
What happens now?
The state police will continue their crackdown on illegal gambling and if sites are in breach of gaming laws, may find themselves facing specific related felony violations.
Pennsylvania’s State Police Major Scott Miller, reportedly highlighted to the committee that he had officials track the number of suspected illegal gambling machines found over a one-month period with the results showing that of the 890 licensed establishments visited, just over 40 per cent had at least one suspected illegal gambling machine.
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