Police crack down on gas station gambling

KANSAS CITY, Missouri - They look like fun games you would find at a carnival. Drop in a quarter. You may win a prize.

The games, called quarter push machines, are winding up in local gas stations and attracting the eye of customers of all ages. There is one problem. They are illegal in Missouri and Kansas.

Now, some gas station operators are in trouble with the law.

Earlier this year, an NBC Action News hidden camera investigation exposed quarter push machines inside several local gas stations.

After our report, it didn't take long for local police to crackdown.

"It’s certainly our job as the community’s police department to ensure that the public is not taken advantage of," said Pleasant Valley Police Chief Mark Dumolt.

The player drops in a quarter and watches an arm push the coins forward. The player wins whatever coins drop into a catch bin.

The Kansas Attorney General’s office began a crackdown on the games in 2008 after receiving complaints.

The office confiscated and destroyed machines across the state.

In February, Patrick Martin with the Kansas Attorney General’s office told NBC Action News, "We are definitely seeing the machines that used to be in Kansas perhaps migrating over into Missouri as well."

Our hidden camera investigation found quarter push machines popping up in some gas stations in Missouri.

People of all ages were allowed to play.

In suburban Pleasant Valley, hidden cameras found machines in two gas stations.

The police got involved. Now the machines are gone.

Police Chief Dumolt says, "The word so to speak is out. I think the business community understands now that possessing these and having them in their places of business is probably not in their best interest. "

In fact, we recently revisited all of the gas stations where we found quarter push machines. All are now gone.

Jackson County prosecutors have charged four people in connection with possession of a gambling device. They will appear in court this week.


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