Apparently there is a lot of money to be made in illegal gambling in Utah according to some reports. A local man received $8 million a year in one recent discovery, selling illegal slot machines inside a company that was fronting as a driving school. Now, a state legislator wants to curtail what is seen as a growing illegal gambling industry in Utah, and has introduced legislation to provide better guidance on what is gambling, and not.
Salt Lake City, affiliate of Utah’s Fox News, Fox13, reports that Senate minority leader Karen Mayne has introduced a bill that would address legislation passed last year that has spawned more illegal gambling in the State. Although gambling is prohibited by the constitution of Utah, there are no gambling laws, meaning that there are no rules on classifying gambling devices.
Mayne said on Thursday, during a news conference: “It’s a cancer that needs to be out of the state of Utah. If they want this kind of practice, it needs to be elsewhere because it’s bringing down all our communities, and bringing drug use, more violence, all those kinds of things. These are slot machines that are in mini-marts, laundromats, beauty salons, and they’re more aggressive every single day.”
Unlawful operations have flourished in the state because of oversight in the legal definitions of gambling or non-gambling. In 2017, the state attorney general’s office confiscated over 400 gambling machines, and there could be even more now. One activity, discovered in Layton, gained around two hundred thousand dollars a month and apparently received funding from the Russian mafia.
At the time Gary Crane, the city attorney of Layton, explained: “[The businesses] were fundamentally being financed and sponsored by the Russian mafia and he probably embellished the story somewhat but we do believe that that money was coming to and coming from an organisation that was well outside of our American borders.”
To straighten things out, Mayne is proposing legislation to identify such practises. Strict descriptions of what constitutes an entertainment device, video game or vending machine are amongst these. It would also cover what a gambling machine is, allowing victims defrauded by illegal gambling to recover their damages, as well as potential monetary damage.
James Russell, a supervising special agent for the Office of the Utah Attorney General, supports the initiative and believes it will gain enough support. He claims: “I would hope that this law would impact enough to give local jurisdictions the power to deal with this without having to fund it like a gaming commission or something like that.”