The American Gaming Association has, through the release of a white paper, pinned a spotlight on the dangers of unregulated, illegal gambling machines across the US. 

The white paper, entitled: Skilled at Deception: How Unregulated Gaming Machines Endanger Consumers and Dilute Investments in Local Economies, noted that the illegal gambling machines are not subjected to meaningful testing, licensing or regulatory standards.

It also states these machines are often tied to criminal activity, including money laundering, drug trafficking and violent crime. 

“History has taught us that unregulated gambling gives rise to an array of legal and social concerns and ultimately erodes public confidence in the safety and integrity of the whole gaming industry,” said Arizona attorney general and former director of the Arizona Department of Gaming, Mark Brnovich.

Highlights within the white paper include illegal gambling machines not undergoing the same regulatory requirements as its legal counterpart, nor are they monitored to ensure fair play for consumers. 

Additionally, the paper stresses that unregulated machine operators also lack training in responsible gaming, potentially luring children and those with problem gambling behaviours to use these machines. 

Moreover, the paper reveals that recent raids of illegal gaming machines have been tied to drug trafficking, gang activity, violence and have also been linked to several major organised crime families. 

“Legal gaming provides immense benefits to the communities it serves – and operating with a gaming license is a privilege that our industry takes seriously,” said AGA, vice president of government relations and gaming policy counsel, Jessica Feil

“Unfortunately, there’s been a rapid increase of unregulated gaming machines that exist in the shadows, taking advantage of loopholes and flouting the law, with little to no oversight. These machines ultimately endanger consumers and communities, fueling problem gambling and crime while drawing important tax revenue away from states.”

The report suggests that law enforcement and policymakers need to ‘prioritise robust enforcement of laws’ to ‘root out’ illegal and unregulated gaming machines along with states and communities continuing to ‘erode regulations’ and businesses to ‘actively remove’ illegal and unregulated games on their properties.