FRANKFORT, Ky. — On Thursday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed a bill into law that bans gaming machines that have popped up all over the state in gas stations, restaurants, and bars.
House Bill 594, sponsored by Rep. Killian Timoney, would ban gray machines and make them illegal in Kentucky, while also implementing a $25,000 fine for those operating the machines that would be paid to the county in which they were operating.
There are currently three forms of legal gaming in Kentucky, and these machines fall outside of the three regulated categories of the Kentucky lottery, charitable gaming, and parimutuel wagering on horse racing. No taxes are being collected on the machines addressed in the bill, and there is currently no regulation in place.
At his press conference on Thursday, Beshear confirmed he has signed the legislation into law after the General Assembly gave it final passage on Tuesday.
“The reason is they are entirely unregulated; I don’t believe they were legal. Yet they came into Kentucky and just set up and were taking dollars from Kentuckians and taking them [the money] out of state with zero regulation, zero taxation, zero system to help those that might develop any issues from using them or from gambling,” he said.
The governor added he wants to look at more ways to have different and additional forms of regulated gaming in the state but “the law is the law” and gray machines operate outside of Kentucky’s law.
Following the bill being signed into law, Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts stated:
“On behalf of Kentucky businesses, we want to thank Rep. Timoney, Chair Matt Koch, Sen. Mike Wilson, and the legislators who championed, supported and passed House Bill 594, which banned the illegal ‘gray machines’ that have infiltrated Kentucky over the last few years. We’d also like to thank Gov. Beshear for swiftly signing the bill into law. It is imperative businesses follow the law of the land as we work to continue to make Kentucky competitive.”