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Anne Lindner

Proposed Arizona Law Addresses Kiosk-Based Gaming

13 February 2002

A committee of the Arizona House of Representatives approved a bill today that would outlaw Internet gaming via kiosks in bars by a vote of 10-0.

Rep. Jeff Hatch-Miller introduced the bill in the early part of January, and it was held in the Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology until today's vote. The proposal, H.B. 2404, will move on to the Rules Committee and the Judiciary Committee. If it passes those two groups, it will be voted on by the full House.

Hatch-Miller, who is chairman of the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee, said no date has been set for the bill to be heard in Rules or Judiciary.

The motivation behind the bill was that a number of bars in Arizona had been approached by a marketing company to offer computer kiosks on their premises. The kiosks offer Internet access for a fee unless the patron goes directly to an Internet gaming site to gamble.

Hatch-Miller explained that in Arizona, gambling is illegal outside of tightly regulated Indian casinos and pari-mutuel wagering facilities. The bill aims to specify that gambling via an Internet kiosk is illegal because it is outside of those regulated areas. Bars that allow the kiosks risk losing their liquor licenses, he said.

"What this clarifies is that an Internet connection to a gaming site is gambling," Hatch-Miller said.

The bill was amended by the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee today, the representative said, in such a way that it now only deals with the suspension and revocation of liquor licenses to taverns with I-gaming kiosks. It has the backing of the state's major gaming interests, he said.

"We were starting with the concept of clarifying under the more broad gambling statutes about Internet stuff, but what we wound up doing was dealing with those that would be most likely to be opening mini-casinos, which are liquor establishments," Hatch-Miller said. "There's a variety of reasons we did that, it just legally made a lot more sense to go there."

The representative said the proposed law intends to stop what is still a relatively small problem--Internet gaming at kiosks in bars--from escalating. The lawmakers on the Energy Committee also want to alert people that, despite what the owners of the kiosks and sites say, I-gaming at kiosks constitutes gambling and will not be allowed in establishments that sell alcohol.

"They argue that while they're not gambling here, they're gambling there, and there might be in Puerto Rico," he said. "Well, I'll tell you, the bar and license are in Arizona, and the bar owners can have their patrons gambling in Puerto Rico all they want but not hold a liquor license."

In August, IGN reported on the owner of a company that places I-gaming kiosks in public places in Phoenix. The Arizona attorney general had warned Glenn Richardson, owner of Kiosk Systems Inc., that he was acting illegally by providing free Internet access to and advertising for two online gaming sites on his kiosks.

Proposed Arizona Law Addresses Kiosk-Based Gaming is republished from
Anne Lindner
Anne Lindner