A Missouri-based firm that has faced the accusation of operating illegal gambling machines started legal action against the state, claiming that the ongoing law enforcement’s crackdown on unregulated slot machines is a campaign of intimidation and harassment.
This week, Torch Electronics LLC, a company that has been well-known for its political donations across the state, filed a lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Public Safety, Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control and Missouri Highway Patrol. The gambling company is now turning to a Cole County court, seeking a ruling against the state that would prevent the Missouri Highway Patrol from taking the machines as part of the aforementioned crackdown.
The slot machine operator alleged that the state exceeded its authority by removing the terminals from the convenience stores of Warrenton Oil and other locations. Warrenton Oil joined Torch Electronics in its lawsuit against the state.
According to the wording of the lawsuit, Missouri’s Government officials are threatening to remove the slot machines offered by Torch Electronics based on what the lawsuit called their own “incorrect interpretations” of the state’s gambling laws. This is why the plaintiffs believe that judicial intervention is needed to prevent the officials from exceeding their authority by removing the amusement devices offered by Torch Electronics in local convenience stores.
Torch Entertainment Claims County Convenience Stores Were Harrassed with Slot Machines Seizures
The legal action against the authorities claims that actions of the state and local police have been found intimidating by convenience stores in Barry, Camden, Crawford, Webster, Linn and Henry counties that host the company’s amusement devices and that have been subject to authorities’ harassment because of that.
The gambling operator’s lawsuit is filed at a time when Missouri lawmakers are making serious efforts to exterminate unregulated gambling machines across the state. That is why the legal action started by the gambling company faced skepticism in the Missouri Senate.
Torch Entertainment is known for making political donations worth tens of thousands of dollars to Governor Mike Parson and other political figures in the state. Now, the company argues that its slot machines are for amusement purposes, although players are able to win real money from them. The lawsuit states that the amusement devices offered by the gambling operator allow users to play games, which are within their control and could not be considered gambling.
The Missouri Gaming Commission has labeled the devices as gambling machines, which are not allowed to be offered outside of licensed casinos under the gambling legislation of the state. This is why they are considered illegal by the state Highway Patrol. The owner of the machines, however, disagrees with these claims, saying that the outcome of the customer’s wager is revealed by the terminals before the player is allowed to proceed. This is the reason Torch Electronics claims its machines are not a game of chance and are legally offered across the state of Missouri.
The company also claims that the seizure of its machines in some locations across the state is causing massive damage to its business.