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Bars challenge AG’s opinion that video slots are gambling

December 29, 2018

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Companies operating video slot machines in Wyoming bars are challenging the attorney general’s opinion that the games constitute illegal gambling.

The vendors, Wyoming Skills LLC, argue the games include an element of skill that exempts the games from state gambling laws. After each spin, players have 15 seconds to “nudge” one reel up or down or to “swap” a logo to display a winning combination.

However, Attorney General Peter Michael noted in his Dec. 11 opinion that some spins are predetermined losers and operators keep a percentage of the wagers, so the video machines are illegal gambling.

Michael’s opinion, requested by Natrona County District Attorney Michael Blonigen, also notes a 1985 Wyoming Supreme Court ruling that said the “law is not required to be blind to, and ineffectual against, the ceaseless efforts and ingenuity of persons to circumvent the Gambling Device Act.”

Playing the games constitutes gambling and those aiding or inducing others to play the game are engaged in professional gambling, Michael wrote.

Wyoming Skills LLC is asking a Natrona County judge for an injunction to prevent law enforcement from acting on Michael’s opinion until a court ruling is made, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle report ed. A hearing date has not been set.

Vendors argue the threat of prosecution from Natrona, Platte, Sublette and Campbell counties has effectively shut down the games there, harming businesses. The outgoing Laramie County prosecutor said he’ll leave the decision to his successor, but vendors say the sheriff has told them he will seize machines, the newspaper reported.

About 300 machines were in operation around the state.

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Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, http://www.wyomingnews.com

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