Washington, D.C. – The American Gaming Association (AGA) and the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) today announced a new partnership to highlight and combat the rapid spread of illegal gambling machine activity in Texas. With an estimated 100,000-150,000 “8-liner” and illegal slot machines now present in Texas, the state has become the most glaring example of widespread illegal gambling activity in the United States.
“Over the last several months, AGA has been shining a spotlight on the vast, dangerous illegal gambling operations running rampant across the country, and few places exemplify the thriving nature of illegal gambling better than Texas, where hundreds of thousands of black market machines are currently in operation,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA. “By partnering with AGEM and building off of the already strong support of law enforcement officials at every level, we will make real progress in shutting down illegal operators.”
“AGEM represents the most respected licensed and regulated gaming suppliers in the world, and we no longer can remain silent about the current environment of widespread illegal gambling in Texas,” said Thomas Jingoli, AGEM President and Chief Compliance Officer for Konami Gaming. “On behalf of our 140-plus member companies who supply gaming equipment and technology to regulated markets around the world, we are asking for law enforcement in Texas, from the highest levels in Austin to the smallest communities, to enforce the state’s existing laws that forbid the kind of uncontrolled activity that continues to spread.”
Among those issuing statements in support of the AGA-AGEM effort are State Representative Allen Fletcher, R-Tomball; Senator Lois W. Kolkhorst, R-Brenham; and Representative JohnKuempel, R-Seguin. Read quotes of support from Texas legislators here.
In a letter to elected officials and law enforcement in Texas, AGA and AGEM are inviting them to join this initiative and to take action. Among the recipients are: Texas’ congressional delegation; Governor Greg Abbott; Attorney General Ken Paxton; and state legislative leaders. Read the letter here.
Since launching “Stop Illegal Gambling – Play it Safe” last month, the AGA has worked hand in hand with law enforcement, attorneys general and other agencies to expose illegal gambling. While “8-liner” machines are not technically illegal in Texas, payouts by law must be limited to $5 in non-cash prizes. Game rooms in most cases are clearly not following the law, creating a statewide environment of illegal gambling activity that has spread rapidly over the past few years.
According to a recent New York Times article and local media reports, illegal gambling activity is taking place in various locations such as windowless former tire shops and tractor-trailers parked along busy roadways. In some cases, illegal slot machines brought in from other states are mixed with the “8-liners” in an attempt to expand the illegal gambling activity. The current “8-liner” landscape is a breeding ground of criminal activity, including robberies, assault, money laundering, tax evasion and organized crime.
About AGA: The American Gaming Association is the premier national trade group representing the $240 billion U.S. casino industry, which supports 1.7 million jobs in 40 states. AGA members include commercial and tribal casino operators, suppliers and other entities affiliated with the gaming industry. It is the mission of the AGA to be the single most effective champion of the industry, relentlessly protecting against harmful and often misinformed public policies, and paving a pathway for growth, innovation and reinvestment.
About AGEM: AGEM is a non-profit international trade association representing manufacturers and suppliers of electronic gaming devices, systems, table games, online technology, key components and support products and services for the gaming industry. AGEM works to further the interests of gaming equipment suppliers throughout the world. Through political action, regulatory influence, trade show partnerships, educational alliances, information dissemination and good corporate citizenship, the members of AGEM work together to create benefits for every company within the organization. Together, AGEM has assisted regulatory agencies and participated in the legislative process to solve problems and create a business environment where AGEM members can prosper while providing a strong level of support to education and responsible gaming initiatives. For more information, visit www.AGEM.org.