Kentucky Chamber urges legislature to pass bill to ban ‘Gray Machines’

With thousands of unregulated gambling machines popping up in all corners of the state, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce has called on legislators to take action to ban “skill game” machines from the Commonwealth.

“Gray machine operators are trying to back Kentucky into a corner by forcing the General Assembly to reward their unauthorized activity after they’ve already established a foothold in our Commonwealth,” Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts wrote in a letter to the Kentucky General Assembly. “This is simply not the way we do business in Kentucky.”

Watts went on to express the concern that these “gray machines” are posing a threat to existing legalized, regulated forms of gambling in Kentucky such as the Kentucky Lottery, charitable gaming, and the signature horse industry. Read the full letter here.

Both the Kentucky House and Kentucky Senate passed bills in the 2022 session to ban the games, but ran short of time and could not reach a final decision on how to proceed, leaving the door open for more machines to enter the Commonwealth in the last year.

“We do not know for certain how many machines are in Kentucky right now, because there is no requirement for registering, monitoring, or tracking them,” said John Cox, Director of Public Affairs at the Kentucky Chamber. “We believe there are machines now in 110 of Kentucky’s 120 counties and that the total number of machines statewide is well into the thousands.”

The sponsor of last year’s bill, Rep. Killian Timoney, is expected to file similar legislation in the 2023 Session, which runs through March 30.

Stay tuned to the Bottom Line for more updates.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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