Twin Lakes examining its policy on licensing video machines used for illegal gambling

tl-logoThe Twin Lakes Village Board is considering whether the village should continue to license video gaming machines that can be used for illegal payouts.

In the past, the village has licensed such devices under the premise that they are to be used for entertainment only, not with a cash payout. But the reality is that many of these devices are used with a cash payout based on how the player performs.

While the village issues licenses for the devices used for gambling — as well as other more innocuous amusement devices like pool tables and pinball machines — village police cannot enforce the legality of their use, village Clerk Kathleen Richardson explained in a recent memo on the topic. That is up to state Department of Revenue agents, of which there are only a very limited number to cover the whole state.

“Basically, if a state agent were to enter any establishment that had these devices, the owners would get cited, and the machines confiscated. For some places, depending on the type, it would be a felony,” Richardson’s memo says.

The issue arose recently because the village received a request from a person seeking to open a store with a number of these devices as essentially the core business of the establishment, not as a sideline to a bar or restaurant.

Board members at Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting stopped short of developing a firm consensus on whether to continue to license video amusement devices that typically are used for illegal gambling. President Howard Skinner said he would like to hear the views of police Chief Dale Racer on the topic before moving forward. Racer was not at Monday’s meeting.

But other board members who spoke on the issue seemed inclined to investigate not continuing to license the machines, and therefore avoiding any suggestion that the village feels they are legitimate.

The board is expected to take up the issue again at a future meeting.


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