Missouri Slot-Like Gaming Devices Lead to More Litigation

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Posted on: March 21, 2023, 08:38h. 

Last updated on: March 21, 2023, 08:38h.

Lawsuits are piling up against Missouri video gaming machine company Torch Electronics. The newest one is from TNT Amusements which claims the slot machine-like devices are illegal and hurt its bottom line.

An example of a no-chance gaming device
An example of a no-chance gaming device, pictured above. Such devices are leading to litigation in Missouri. (Image: Missouri Independent)

TNT alleges Torch violates state consumer law and federal criminal statutes, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. TNT also claims Torch is taking part in fraud.

Torch does not have a Missouri gaming license and does not operate its amusement devices in a casino,” the lawsuit stated, according to the news report.

“Businesses have limited floor space and every spot taken up by an illegal Torch device is a spot taken away from a legal amusement device such as those offered by TNT.”

The 56-page litigation was filed last week in Missouri’s Eastern District court. It seeks treble damages.

TNT provides amusement games and is owned by Jim Turntine.

The same company previously filed a lawsuit against Torch in 2019. Back then, TNT attempted to get Torch to remove its gaming machines at a truck stop. So far, that litigation was unsuccessful.

Class Action Lawsuit

Earlier this month, another lawsuit was filed in federal court against Torch for players who lost money while using the company’s devices. It could become a class action lawsuit and represent many disgruntled players.

It is really so cruel to people who have gambling problems to place them in these situations,” Joe Jacobson, the attorney who filed the litigation, told the Missouri Independent newspaper.

“It is like being a cocaine addict and everywhere you go, there are lines of coke sitting on bar tops.”

Torch gaming devices are found in many convenience stores and truck stops in the state. Torch terminals resemble slot machines. A player puts in money, selects a game to play, and then selects a wager, the Post-Dispatch explained in a report. Winners get paid by a cashier at the business where terminals are located.

Missouri is now debating the legalization of sports betting. But some in the legislature want to see a video gambling bill enacted that would clearly regulate the devices provided by Torch. State officials have left it up to local prosecutors whether to litigate the use of the Torch machines.

So far, there was only one successful Missouri prosecution of the Torch devices. It took place in Platte County. Those gaming machines were seized and destroyed.

Torch Electronics has responded its devices are legal under state law because players are given the chance to see the outcome of the game before they continue, the Independent reported.

No-Chance Games

Torch further contends its gaming machines are legal because there is no “element of chance,” according to the Post-Dispatch.

Company officials further say their machines “fall outside the definition of a ‘gambling device’ under Missouri law,” the Post-Dispatch reported. They call them “no-chance game machines.”

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