JEFFERSON CITY - Video gambling machines would be legalized in bars and truck stops and networked into a single statewide system under a measure passed in the senate Ways and Means Committee.
According to the Missouri Lottery Commission, such video gambling machines that allow gamblers to gamble electronically are currently illegal to own, operate, or possess by anyone other than a casino.
The bill would allow such machines to be operated in bars, truck stops and other secured establishments, while also establishing a statewide "Video Gaming Machine Network" that links all machines to a main computer.
But the gambling machines placed in these establishments could have an impact on other lottery revenue such as keno and pulltabs said Gary Gonder, Director of communications for the Lottory Commission.
"I don't doubt there would be an impact because it's competition, and it's very popular," said Gonder.
The revenue from these machines would be placed in a trust fund that would help fund higher education and give grants to low income students.
"A truck driver has an hour, wants to grab a bite to eat. He goes in there, plays the machine for a while and the state makes some money," said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Ken Jacob, D- Boone County.
Jacob said he has tried to pass this bill in the past and decided to sponsor it again because the state is in need of more revenue.
"I've basically had it sitting around the shelves for a lot of years and dusted it off when there became a greater need for revenue in the state," Jacob said.
"There are a few things we could do to gaming right now that would raise a substantial amount of money that in my opinion it's just idiotic not to do. But, you can't get many people to do it because they view it is a politically sensitive issue," he said.
The bill will go to the Senate floor for debate.
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