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Alternative, Penny-Point Gaming Machines Gain Popularity In Michigan

13 August 2000

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN—Aug. 13, 2000—As reported by The Associated Press: "… Alternative slot machines - that pay out in penny points redeemable at Kmart - are proliferating in Grand Rapids.

"Some say they're a game of skill, great entertainment and good for business. Others loathe them for their similarities to slot machines.

"…Rev. Tom Laymon, who recently played a hand in getting six of the machines for an American Legion Post nixed by the local zoning board, said the machines are simply another way that gambling is taking root.

"…Meanwhile, businesses around the area are getting a step ahead of an Indian tribe that wants to build a casino between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids.

"…The machines look like slot machines and take money like slot machines. The difference is the winnings come as points, redeemable at the Kmart store at 701 68th St. SW.

"Prizes can also be ordered through a catalogue.

"Because of the differences, and because there's an element of skill involved to win, the machines are legal under a two-year-old state law.

"…To play, a dollar is inserted for four plays, and there are four games to choose from. One is baseball and another is like a roulette wheel, where a light flashes around a circle of symbols - 7s, cherries, pears. The player can stop the light by pushing a button. Three cherries wins 15 points, but different combinations can increase or decrease the winnings.

"…But it will take a while to earn enough points to buy those items: each point is worth a penny.

"…Points can be collected for up to one year and exchanged for merchandise worth up to $250, a limit set by law…"

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