Retailers could lose licenses if they have coin-pusher devices
Coin-pusher machines are popping up at limited video lottery businesses in violation of state law, and the West Virginia Lottery is warning operators that it will yank their licenses if they do not get rid of the devices.
Coin-pusher machines are touted as skills games by manufacturers and distributors. Players insert coins in the machines in an attempt to push other coins, tokens, jewelry or other prizes off rotating shelves and into a bin where the players can retrieve them.
Lottery Director John Musgrave said lottery attorneys believe a ban on possession of unlicensed licensing gambling machines applies to the machines. The ban was included in a 2001 law that legalized up to 9,000 limited video lottery machines in bars, clubs, and fraternal organizations.
"We're notifying limited video retailers that it is a violation of Lottery regulations, and criminal law," Musgrave told the Lottery Commission on Wednesday.
Violating the ban is a felony that carries a prison sentence of up to three years and fines of up to $100,000 per machine.
Musgrave said the coin-pusher machines also are proliferating at other businesses around West Virginia.
"They're showing up in pizza places. They're showing up in corner drug stores," he said.
Limited video lottery operators also have been warned that it is their responsibility to prevent their businesses from being listed under "casinos" in telephone directories. The 2001 law prohibited operators from advertising limited video lottery machines.
Musgrave also said Lottery revenues for April were $132 million, bringing the total for the fiscal year so far to $1.263 billion. He said the Lottery is on pace to break the record $1.399 billion set in the 2004-2005 fiscal year.