The White Pages: Illegal gaming

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LEGISLATIVE EFFORTS IN THE STATE CAPITOL

As video gambling becomes more popular nationwide, there has been a push to increase the amount of video lottery terminals (VLT) throughout communities across our state. Currently, there is legislation pending that would authorize this expansion, as well as legalize sports betting. If passed, this means we would start to see gambling machines in truck stops, gas stations, bars and many other retail locations that would potentially expose underage children to gambling. It is important to note that under current law, VLT’s are illegal and cannot legally provide a cash payout to any player.

A recent investigation shows that 665 retail locations operate illegal gaming machines. Over the last six months, these machines have cost the Missouri Lottery Commission $3.2 million in sales. That’s an average monthly sales loss of $90,000 per illegal machine in our state.

I do not support any initiative that would expand video gambling throughout our state and potentially take money away from our state’s public education funds. There has been an alternative approach proposed under Senate Bill 431 that I believe provides a proper way to removing illegal gaming machines.

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This legislation would empower the Missouri Gaming Commission to enter into agreements with various federal, state and local agencies to carry out investigations relating to the enforcement of illegal gambling machines. It would also require the commission to establish and display a phone number that citizens could call to report these illegal machines. In addition, this legislation allows the attorney general to prosecute these cases when probable cause is determined.

Most importantly, any establishment that is convicted of participating in illegal gambling will have their liquor license revoked, and they will lose their ability to sell Missouri Lottery products. This penalty will ensure that illegal gaming is taken seriously.

I truly believe the expansion of video lottery terminals would be a detriment to many communities and I will work with my Senate colleagues to ensure that SB 431 makes it across the finish line.

NATIONAL BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB WEEK

In honor of National Boys & Girls Club Week, representatives from the Joplin Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Missouri traveled to Jefferson City to attend the Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year Celebration. For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation have provided a safe haven for more than 4 million youth. It was an honor to meet with the administrators who assist our youth in discovering their great futures.

STATE AND FEDERAL TAX FILING DEADLINE

I would like to remind everyone that April 15, marks the filing deadline for state and federal taxes. The Missouri Department of Revenue issued a notice that includes tools and resources for any taxpayer who has questions or concerns. The notice emphasized that the Department of Revenue is following the Internal Revenue Service’s lead and will not impose penalties for underpayment of estimated tax, provided that the taxpayer has paid at least 80 percent of the tax owed by April 15, 2019. For more information, citizens can call (573) 522- 0967 or visit the Missouri Department of Revenue’s website for further assistance.

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