65% of American residents familiar with gray machines believe these devices are games of chance, not skill, according to an American Gaming Association (AGA) survey.

Results of the survey, conducted by Kantar on behalf of the AGA, show 65% of the 2,002 American adults (21+) surveyed who are familiar with “skill” games say the gray machines are no different from slot machines, where wins are based on RNG, and a skilled player “can not reliably influence the outcome”. The majority of players also felt the machines had “negative influences” in their communities.

Prior AGA research stipulates that there are over 580,000 gray machines across America, which constitutes 40% of all gambling machines. These machines are found in locations outside of gambling institutions like racetracks, racinos and casinos.Instead, they’re often in gas stations, bars, convenience stores and other “community establishments”.

In recent times, Kentucky lawmakers have outlawed gray machines. State lawmakers are facing legal backlash from Pace-o-matic, one of the developers of said machines. Pace-o-matic argues the ban is unconstitutional, and that it could put small businesses who rely on machine income out of business. The Michigan Gaming Control Board recently seized 50 illegal gambling machines in a bust involving multiple authorities, despite MI online casino being legal.

“Unregulated machine manufacturers have built their businesses by duping consumers and small businesses while avoiding taxes, oversight and consumer protections,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller.

He continued: “These results are further evidence that Americans see these machines as a threat that should be eliminated, not regulated. Keeping America’s gaming industry strong, safe and responsible can only be done through the robust infrastructure of the well-established legal market, not by rewarding bad actors with half-measures that fail to address the dangers of unregulated gambling.”

Key findings from the survey were as follows:

  • 71 percent say “skill” machines lack the player protections that are available to players in casinos.
  • 64 percent agree “skill” machines are too easily accessible to children.
  • 56 percent say “skill” games increase the risk of crime and endanger employees and customers of businesses where devices are located.

The AGA and other industry stakeholders are at a Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee hearing on the presence of skill games in the state. The AGA has prepared specific data for PA, arguing gaming machines in regulated PA casinos have an average 93% return to player, whereas gray machines have RTP as low as 75%.