Arkansas Companies Worry Missouri Lottery Director

Missouri Lottery Director May Scheve-Reardon (l.), concerned about the impact of unregulated gaming machines on revenue, said she may pull the lottery licenses of businesses that allow the games on their premises.

Arkansas Companies Worry Missouri Lottery Director

Missouri lawmakers adjourned in May after again failing to pass legislation to eliminate video gambling machines or legalize, regulate and tax the games that have proliferated in bars, restaurants and convenience stores, primarily in southern Missouri.

Now two Arkansas firms, PB08 Electronic Ventures Inc. of Gravette, Ark. and Lone Wolfe Entertainment LLC of Centerton, Ark., have joined other companies that have flooded Missouri with gambling devices. Those include Wildwood-based Torch Electronics, whose owner, Steve Miltenberger, faces illegal gambling charges in Adair County, and Kansas-based Integrity Vending LLC, which was found guilty in 2020 of promoting illegal gambling in the first degree in Platte County.

At a recent meeting of the state lottery commission, Missouri Lottery Director May Scheve-Reardon said agency staffers have been reviewing correspondence between the Missouri State Highway Patrol and PB08 and Lone Wolfe Entertainment regarding placing unregulated video gambling machines in southern Missouri establishments.

Scheve-Reardon warned the surge of unregulated gambling machines will continue without legal or legislative action. She said, “We’re going to be swimming in these machines this summer” and stated she’s considering pulling the lottery licenses of businesses that allow unregulated machines on their premises.

Scheve-Reardon noted lottery sales figures indicate the machines are affecting revenue. She said through May 2022, ticket sales at convenience stores, where many of the machines are located, are down 4.8 percent. In contrast, ticket sales are up at other retailers, including grocery stores, truck stops and bars. She said every dollar spent playing unregulated and untaxed machines means less money the lottery can transfer to the state’s education fund.