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Sean D. Reyes
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Utah AGO Joins Sen. Karen Mayne to Announce Legislation Combating Fringe Gambling

February 27, 2020

This morning, the Utah Attorney General’s Office joined with Senator Karen Mayne to announce legislation aimed at closing loopholes that allow illegal gambling operation to skirt the law in communities across Utah.

Listen to the audio below:

“What we are talking about has been a cancer in our community. They have been here before and we have fought them before. This is a national problem as well as a state problem,” said Senator Mayne.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office has dealt with these problem machines for years. The individuals and companies operating these machines are doing so with no oversight and no regard to the impact they have on the communities around them. As such, they operate as disguised gambling machines, where gambling is illegal in Utah. Additionally, these machines often target lower-income individuals as they are placed in minimarts, laundromats, beauty salons, and even near schools.

These machines have been problematic for state and local governments. When these machines are installed, they are done so without working to comply with local business ordinances. Despite these machines bringing in thousands of dollars every month, they do not pay sales tax since they aren’t registered as a business.

This legislation will:

  • Close the loopholes and protect our community;
  • Clarify which types of machines are legal;
  • Strengthen and build upon existing laws regarding fringe gambling machines;
  • Prohibit the operation, or placing into operation, a fringe gambling machine;
  • Increase criminal penalties to owners, not users, of the machines for those guilty of gambling offense;
  • Allow double damages for money lost against the operator or location owner of the machine for money lost; and
  • Focuses on machines that take and distribute money. The bill does not modify existing laws that apply to bingo, valid promotional activities, or other activities not involving a machine.

“This is something we need to fight together because these are a detriment to our communities,” said Senator Mayne.