The Kentucky House representatives had a dramatic debate last Wednesday over the state’s increased number of unregulated gambling devices. Following the procedural motion to resume consideration of banning the slot-like machines, the House voted and the House Bill 594 was passed on a 64-32 vote.

Motion to resume consideration of the measure:

House Speaker David Osborne made the motion mentioned above. As a result, the proposed Bill 594 has proceeded to the Senate to end the debate around cash payout machines that have flooded the stores and gas stations across Kentucky. These machines have been extensively referred to as ”grey machines” for their vague legal status. Osborne stated: “Today’s House vote sends a clear message that there is no place for gambling entities that skirt the law in order to flood Kentucky with unregulated casino-style gaming without limit or oversight.”

”Dangerous ban bill:”

The action has incited an active debate among interest groups. The supporters of keeping the games in the state, such as Kentucky Merchants and Amusement Coalition, referred to the House action as “unfortunate” after “so many Kentucky small business owners contacted their legislators about the benefits of skill games.” Wes Jackson, the group’s president, said: “We are hopeful that our supporters in the Senate will put this dangerous ban bill to rest, putting the needs of actual Kentuckians, not the profits of big business, first.” 

”Certain and viable option:”

On the other side, the group Kentuckians Against Illegal Gambling greeted the House’s action to resume consideration of the bill after it had requested the chamber to reconsider the proposed ban. “Passing HB594 is the only certain and viable option to prevent every restaurant, gas station, and convenience store in the commonwealth from becoming a mini-casino,” said Mark Guilfoyle, the group’s executive director.

Pending for consideration:

The issue has confused Kentucky lawmakers since last year when a bill to ban these gambling machines passed the House and Senate. However, lawmakers haven’t reached an agreement for months and waited until this year’s 30-day session to settle the issue. But the bill is now pending for discussions and heavy lobbying from both parties again, with Republicans having a vast majority in both chambers.

Proponents and opponents:

Meanwhile, proponents of the ban claim that the rapidly rising number of slot-like machines will lead to the most significant expansion of gambling in Kentucky’s history, while opponents of the ban advocate that such a move would harm multiple small businesses – such as bars and gas stations – that offer the games to customers.

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