WEBSTER COUNTY, Mo. — An ongoing battle on whether it’s legal to have gambling machines placed in areas other than casinos, like convenience stores and truck stops, continues.
Recent lawsuits have been filed against Missouri slot machine companies.
The lawsuits argue that video machines are illegal and unregulated.
Missouri’s attorney general said he’s leaving the ongoing battle up to local county prosecutors.
Now, the Webster County prosecutor is investigating the machines and working to put a stop to them if needed.
Prosecutor Ben Berkstresser said he has contacted the Missouri State Highway Patrol to investigate the machines in his county.
“I will be getting and reviewing the reports from those investigations,” he said.
He said if he finds there has been a violation of state laws, he plans to take action.
“My intent is to pursue charges against the appropriate people or corporation that are responsible for placing these machines in the businesses in my county,” Berkstresser said.
Berkstresser said the machines create an opportunity for criminal behavior.
“Which is drug transactions near and around the businesses,” he said. “We had, a few months ago, a business and a convenience store in Seymour and they were burglarized.”
Country Mart Employee, Kimi Watson, said the convenience store in Marshfield leases the machines from a vendor to split some of the profits.
She believes it is a benefit to both the store and customers.
“I don’t think it involves any crime at all,” Watson said. “I’ve never had anyone leave the store and get robbed. When they win money, they win money. I don’t think it’s a big deal.”
Berkstresser said he should know very soon whether he will be pursuing any charges.