Is the Texas Lottery Commission attempting to make an end around and legalize slot machines in Texas, even though the Legislature has repeatedly rejected the proposal?
That's what opponents tell 1200 WOAI news, as the Lottery Commission on Wednesday will continue allowing electronic readers in BINGO parlors, which will reveal the outcome of the popular 'pull tag' BINGO games.
Rob Kohler, who is a consultant for the Baptist General Convention of Texas, says those screens are, in reality, 'Class 2 slot machines' and if the Lottery Commission approves the request, it will have the effect of opening the door for slot machines at every facility which is now licensed to play BINGO.
"Hundreds of little mini slot parlors dotted across our state filled with slot machines, I don't think is something that anybody, even people who support legalized gambling, would think is a great idea," Kohler told 1200 WOAI news.
Kohler says the 'video confirmation screens' which the BINGO industry is looking for permission to install, are the same devices which are used as slot machines in the state's only legal gambling casino, the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Resort in Eagle Pass.
"When you hear the term 'electronic pull tab BINGO machine, what that actually means is a slot machine," he said.
But the Lottery Commission begs to differ.
"The proposed amendments would not authorize slot machines," the commission said in a statement. "In fact they include language to prohibit any video confirmation that simulates or displays rolling or spinning wheels, dice, or the play of casino style games, including slow machines."
The Commission says the only thing the screens do is to 'provide video confirmation' that the pull tab ticket is a winner.'
Kohler agrees that the machines are not the familiar Vegas-style slot machines. But he says since they are classified by the gaming industry as slot machines, it will be very difficult to prevent the spread of actual slot machines if the request is approved.
"This has been at the Legislature," he said. "Four Legislatures have actually considered electronic forms of pull tabs, and rejected them."