On Monday the American Gaming Association (AGA) issued a white paper highlighting the risks of unregulated, illicit gambling machines proliferating across the United States. According to the group, these illicit gaming machines are not subjected to meaningful testing, licencing, or regulatory requirements, and are often linked to criminal activity such as money laundering, drug trafficking, and violent crime.
Skilled at Deception: How Unregulated Gaming Machines Endanger Consumers and Dilute Investments in Local Economies illustrates how illicit gambling machines are not subjected to the same strict regulatory standards that the legal gaming industry is subjected to, such as licences, game testing and reporting, and responsible gaming.
Such games are often not regulated to ensure that consumers are treated fairly. Children and others with problem gambling habits can be enticed to use these devices by unregulated machine operators who lack experience in responsible gaming.
Recent raids on illegal gaming machines have been related to drug trafficking, gang activity, violence, and multiple major organised crime families, according to the study.
Strict enforcement of laws
Law enforcement and policymakers should prioritise strict enforcement of laws to root out illicit and unregulated gaming machines, according to the study, to combat the spread of illegal machines.
It also recommends that states and communities not approve these devices, which continue to erode regulations and expose consumers to unnecessary risk. According to the study, businesses should actively remove unauthorised and unregulated games from their assets.
The controlled gaming industry and law enforcement communities, according to the AGA, are both concerned about the danger that illegal gambling machines pose to communities.
Safety and integrity of gaming industry
Mark Brnovich, the Arizona Attorney General and former Director of the Arizona Department of Gaming, stated: “History has taught us that unregulated gambling gives rise to an array of legal and social concerns and ultimately erodes public confidence in the safety and integrity of the whole gaming industry.”
Jessica Feil, AGA Vice President of Government Relations and Gaming Policy Counsel added: “Legal gaming provides immense benefits to the communities it serves – and operating with a gaming license is a privilege that our industry takes seriously.
“Unfortunately, there’s been a rapid increase of unregulated gaming machines that exist in the shadows, taking advantage of loopholes and flouting the law, with little to no oversight. These machines ultimately endanger consumers and communities, fueling problem gambling and crime while drawing important tax revenue away from states.”