Loophole machine ban worries independent businesses in Springfield

Children play video games at Contender eSports on Saturday, February 10, 2024.

Monday’s Springfield City Council meeting could be crucial for video lottery terminals, or VLTs, often found in gas stations, convenience stores and bars, as council members consider a ban on electronic devices that offer cash prizes of any kind. However, entrepreneurs fear that the regulation could also have a negative impact on practices outside of VLTs.

The ordinance would amend city code to add a section on cash prizes. It would prohibit the operation of “any entertainment device that offers a cash prize to any person, regardless of the frequency with which a cash prize is awarded or the likelihood of an individual user receiving a cash prize.”

The regulation also provides for minimum penalties for violations of these regulations. Each device would constitute a separate offense and with each offense the punishment becomes more severe. A first offense would result in a fine of at least $500, a second would result in a fine of at least $1,000, and a third would result in a fine of at least $1,000 and 30 days in jail.

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