Utah House Passes Bill to Clampdown on Fringe Gambling

Utah House Passes Bill to Clampdown on Fringe Gambling

Comparing their efforts to the game of “whack-a-mole” state lawmakers from Utah passed a new bill to clampdown on fringe gambling.

No more slot machine-like games

The House, on Wednesday, gave overwhelming support to a bill that would crack down on fringe gambling activities, focusing on slot machine-like devices that have invaded convenience stores in the state in recent times. Republican Rep. Eric Hutchings commented on these machines and said, “It looks like a cheap gas station on the west side of Las Vegas.”

Utah House Passes Bill to Clampdown on Fringe Gambling

The slot-like machines have been cropping up in the state despite the authority’s clear and strict constitutional prohibition on games of chances and lotteries. The bill’s sponsors, including House Sponsor for SB214 Rep. Timothy Hawkes, took cognizance of the situation. They have compared this fringe gambling market in the state to cancer and said that it is spreading through many communities.

Hawkes said that people profiting from these gambling devices always come across “creative” ways to circumvent the state laws or find loopholes. He added, “It’s a little like a game of whack-a-mole.”

Illegal activity in convenience stores

Other lawmakers who supported the bill said that convenience stores and gas stations have become the hotspots for illegitimate activity in the state, including prostitution and drug dealing. They pinpointed the presence of these gambling devices and said that the people most affected by the fringe gambling activity are those who cannot afford it. Hawkes went as far ahead as quoting from the Bible and saying that operators of these devices are oppressors who are grinding the faces of the poor.

The new proposal will clarify the types of machines that will be considered legal in the state. It will also define a ‘fringe gambling machine’ and increase criminal penalties for those who own these gambling machines. It will also allow users to request double damages for the money that they have lost from the machine owner.

The bill has passed the House by a 63-8 vote and will now proceed to the Senate for a final vote.

About sherlock

Sherlock Gomes loves to write and express his views on anything related to Gaming, Gambling, & Casino. He has been covering Gaming for more than two years now.