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Law enforcement will crack down on local “games of skill”
KY House Bill 594, sponsored by Representative Killian Timoney (R-Jessamine County), was recently signed into law by KY Governor Andy Beshear and will outlaw, beginning June 29, the many “gray machines” or “games of skill” operating in gas stations, convenience stores, restaurants, and other venues across McCreary County and the Commonwealth.
“I want to get the word out now so people have the opportunity to get rid of their gray machines,” McCreary County Sheriff David Sampson explained. “Unless there is an appeal that results in an injunction, the law goes into effect June 29. I was elected to enforce the law, and we will be required to enforce this new law.”
Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Dustin Ridner agreed with the Sheriff.
“Most people are going to be smart enough to get rid of the machines,” Ridner noted. “Who wants to be in trouble with the law and risk the amount of fine attached to operating these machines?”
The machines, commonly referred to as “gray machines,” are referenced as such because the machines originally fell into a “gray” area of KY’s legal gaming constraints. Currently, those statewide constraints only permit the KY lottery, gaming for charitable purposes, and parimutual betting on horse races. Supporters of the machines argue the “gray machines” are not “games of chance” but rather “games of skill.” Prior to enactment of HB 594, the questionable “gray machines” operated without regulation, without taxation, and without providing assistance to those who developed gambling addiction from playing the machines.
The new law prohibits establishments from operating “gray machines” (unregulated cash payout machines) similar in appearance to slot machines but touted as being based on skill. The new law also creates a hefty civil penalty for any person who conducts, finances, manages, supervises, directs or owns a gambling device including “gray machines” of not more than $25,000 for each device and payable to the county in which the device was operated.
Additionally, the new law allows the attorney general, Commonwealth’s attorney, or county attorney to file legal action to cease operation of devices operating in violation of the law and to recover the civil penalty.