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Opinion: Loosely regulated mini-casinos are not good for our state

As a Representative, my first priority is to look out for the best interests of my constituents and communities. We need to work together to find new avenues for industry and revenue. However, in pursuit of these goals, we should not be sacrificing responsibility, accountability, and common decency. After all, not every business venture is worthwhile.

State Rep. Jack Bondon

The proposed legalization of video lottery terminals across the state is a prime example of placing revenues before our values. Let me be clear: This is not a “gray area” in the law, as some have said. These are black market machines which are recognized as illegal by Missouri law enforcement agencies such as the Highway Patrol and the Attorney General’s Office. Yet, vendors of these video lottery terminals don’t care about our laws and continue to spread their machines throughout the state without consequence. Now, these vendors have the gall to try to lobby their way into legalization. I, for one, do not think that past illegal behavior should be rewarded with a free pass.

I also do not want to see these video lottery terminals populating the state. By legalizing VLTs, Missourians can expect to see gas stations, rest stops, and family restaurants hosting these flashy machines and running full blown mini-casinos. Furthermore, video lottery terminals do not have the same accountability as the Missouri Lottery or our state’s regulated casinos. Gas station clerks cannot be expected to police these back rooms for minors or ensure that games are providing fair play.

I agree with my friends, Senator Dave Schatz and Senator Mike Cunningham, and together we are drawing a line in the sand: No expansion of gaming will be considered until we confront those operating illegally in our state. This week I plan to file legislation to punish those who have intentionally broken our clear gaming laws. The Trojan horse of VLTs must be rejected before it is too late.

All My Best,

Jack Bondon