Tri-State residents probably noticed gaming machines at various northeast Missouri convenience stores.
They’ve popped up even though the Missouri Gaming Commission does not regulate the devices.
KHQA checked with several sources to determine the legality of them.
No one agreed to an interview for this story, but this is what we discovered for this Exclusive KHQA Investigative Report.
Illinois lawmakers approved video gaming in establishments that have a liquor license 10 years ago.
Three years later in April 2012, the Quincy City Council approved an ordinance that not only approved video gaming but also regulated it.
However, what are the rules in Hannibal and other parts of northeast Missouri?
What are the chances of winning money from those devices and who gets the revenue from them?
The answer is unclear.
Jackpot Junction just opened on Bird Street in Hannibal.
It bills itself as a “No contest/No chance amusement lounge.”
Owner Dustin Robertson said his establishment is legal thanks to a loophole in Missouri law.
“There is no clear definition of whether or not the machines can be considered gambling devices,” Robertson stated in an e-mail. “The definition of gambling as stated by Missouri Gaming Commission is playing a game of chance. Since the machines state the outcome of playing prior to the pull, it cannot be considered a game of chance, thus cannot fall under the definition of gambling, therefore remaining unregulated. “
KHQA checked with the Hannibal Police Department who has consulted with Marion County Prosecutor Luke Bryant.
Lt. Zerbonia said Bryant advised he is awaiting the outcome of other similar cases in the state before any further action on the matter.
KHQA also reached out to Bryant about this matter but did not hear back from him.
The Missouri Gaming Commission issued the following statement:
“We have no jurisdiction over gambling devices found outside of Missouri riverboat gaming casinos. When we receive a complaint, we forward the information to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. They investigate and provide a report to the local prosecuting attorney in the jurisdiction where the machines are located.”
A Missouri Highway Patrol spokesperson said the department is unable to comment on any specific cases or locations in our area but said all investigations are turned over to the area’s prosecuting attorney to decide if the case is prosecuted.
Questions surrounding gaming in northeast Missouri isn’t over.
Two bills have been introduced this year to provide clearer legal definitions of what’s legal and what’s not.