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AGA warns of “rapid growth” in illegal gambling machines


The American Gaming Association has warned players of the risks posed by unlicensed gaming machines, after what it described as a “rapid growth” in their prevalence.

AGA vice President of Government Relations and Gaming Policy Counsel Jessica Feil said the report was in response to a rapid growth in the amount of unregulated gaming machines that had been operating.

“Unfortunately, there’s been a rapid increase of unregulated gaming machines that exist in the shadows, taking advantage of loopholes and flouting the law, with little to no oversight,” she said. 

The Association said that licensed gaming machines undergo vigorous testing, which ensure they work fairly and in a way that should be expected.

“Consumers that play gaming machines should rest assured that machines operate fairly and will not be compromised,” the AGA said. “The approval process is not as simple as just submitting a request to place a product out in the market. Manufacturers must provide comprehensive and technical information and documentation that describes and demonstrates how the product functions and operates in accordance with statutes, regulations, and technical standards.

“Only through a regulated and robust product approval and testing process and ongoing compliance and reporting scheme will patrons feel confident that they will be treated fairly.”

In addition, the AGA continued, licensed operators also offer responsible gambling tools such as self-exclusion schemes, while they also promote problem gambling help services. With unregulated machines having no such requirements, the AGA said this meant they may pose a higher risk to more vulnerable players.

Finally, the AGA said that as operators of these machines do not pay tax, use of the machines rob states of revenue that would go towards good causes such as education.

Arizona Attorney General and former director of the state’s Department of Gaming Mark Brnovich said the machines pose a risk to gaming as a whole.

“History has taught us that unregulated gambling gives rise to an array of legal and social concerns and ultimately erodes public confidence in the safety and integrity of the whole gaming industry,” Brnovich said.