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House passes bill outlawing 'fringe gambling'

House passes bill outlawing 'fringe gambling'

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SALT LAKE CITY — The House voted Friday to advance a bill that would prohibit so-called "fringe gambling" in Utah.

The bill would close a loophole in Utah law allowing certain slot machine-like gambling devices that have been cropping up in convenience stores in Utah. The sweepstakes games function much like slot machines by dispensing tokens or other credits in exchange for cash.

"They look like sweepstake machines, but actually are almost identical to casino gaming machines," said Rep. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, the sponsor of HB23.

This bill is meant to ensure there is no gambling in the state of Utah, McKell said. According to the Utah Attorney General's Office, there are currently 60 to 80 of these machines accross the state, hel said.

Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, said efforts earlier to make this change didn't solve the problem because of a gray area in the law.

The full House approved the bill with a 69-2 vote. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Emily Ashcraft

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