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The Technological and Business Evolution of Machine Based Gambling in America
Wake Forest Journal of Business and Intellectual Property Law (2014)
  • Darren Prum
  • Carlin McCrory

Machine Based Gambling has become a major source of revenue to many states across the country that need the money but face obstacles to raising taxes within their jurisdiction. The figures are startling with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s cut at over $1.456 Billion in 2011, which exceed the next closest state by $500 million. In addition, there are more than twice as many slot machines available to the public than ATMs. The benefits of machine based gaming has allowed many governments to revitalized tourism locations, make some Native Americans economically self-sufficient, and save horse and dog race tracks from closing as well as generating many good paying jobs. With such a large footprint in so many aspects of life, the decision to legalize machine based gaming provides policymakers with a good economic solution on many levels in spite of moral objections.

While many people look at today’s slot machines and see the spinning reels as a mechanism for determining an outcome, the devices now offer the latest in technology that may select the result based on a random number generator, a players luck with the lottery, the results from Bingo, or assist in a Pull-tab game, depending on the jurisdiction. As such, this article examines the mixture of laws and regulations that reflect the historical debate surrounding gaming between legalization and prohibition across the country and those policies that permitted Native American tribes to offer such facilities. It traces the history of machine based games from both a historical and legal perspective as manufacturers and policymakers continue an age old cat and mouse game to offer and invent devices with the aid of technology that delivers an activity and entertainment experience that fits within the permissible regulations or codes of a given jurisdiction while maintaining the physical appearance of a slot machine. In taking these actions, the approval by regulators and the courts may offer compliance but may pose a conflict as to whether the lack of transparency in how the device operates creates a legally redressable claim.

  • gaming technology,
  • Indian Gaming Regulatory Act,
  • IGRA,
  • Class II device,
  • Gaming,
  • Pull-tab,
  • Bingo,
  • Casino,
  • Indian Gaming,
  • VLT,
  • Video Lottery Terminal,
  • Class II Machine,
  • Slot Machine,
  • gambling
Publication Date
Winter 2014
Citation Information
Darren Prum and Carlin McCrory. "The Technological and Business Evolution of Machine Based Gambling in America" Wake Forest Journal of Business and Intellectual Property Law Vol. 14 Iss. 2 (2014)
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