Are electronic gaming machines found in north Topeka business legal?

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission has been cracking down on illegal gaming machines in the state.

This year, authorities have seized more than 500 machines in the Wichita area alone.

13 NEWS received a tip a Topeka smoke shop may have them, too.
Investigative reporter Shawn Wheat checked it out, and found that Kansas law states casinos are the only facilities allowed to have slot machines, also known as electronic gaming machines.

The 13 NEWS viewer asked why the machines were set up at Smoke’s 4 U.

The Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, and the lawyer for Skill Gaming of Kansas Inc. of Wichita, who own the machines, gave us different answers.

Fred Waller with K.R.G.C. said “probably illegal,” when we showed him a photo.

“It’s a game of skill, and we’ll prove it,” said Attorney Stephen Joseph who represents Skill Gaming of Kansas Inc.

A law enforcement source told us, the games are illegal because it’s a game of chance, with money at stake.

“If you have the three components of chance, consideration or prize where you pay to play the game,” said Waller. “There's a chance you may or may not win, and in the end and you do win, where you either get a phone card, cash or whatever you win, those machines are illegal.”

The manager at Smoke’s 4 U refused to talk on camera, and asked us to come back later when we visited the store. When we did, the games were gone. They told us, because there was the chance the games were not legal, they asked Skill Gaming of Kansas to take the games out. But Joseph says they have nothing to hide and insists the machines are legal because these games are not a game of chance...if you know what to look for.

“When you sit down, you can tell you’re going to win or lose before you do anything. So there is no chance,” said Joseph.

He says you simply press a button on the game to show you what the prize will be, before you spin the wheels. But we saw no signs or stickers telling you how to find it.

“There’s a button on the left-hand side. It’s prominently displayed, I mean if you look at all button across the bottom of the screen, you’ll see it on the left hand side,” Joseph explained.

“These illegal games are not regulated by anyone so they can set them at any standard. They’re set for the house to win big time, so that’s another reason not to play them,” said Waller.

Joseph says the company won a lawsuit to place the machines in Park City, a suburb of Wichita. The ruling only applies there.

“We have a case pending in Harvey county. We have a case pending in Butler County. But until we get rulings, KRGC just take them. They get search warrants and just take them,” said Joseph.

But Waller reiterated, “I don’t know if everybody knows they’re illegal, but they are illegal if they’re not in a casino. It’s as simple as that.”

The KRGC says it’s also illegal to play the games if they are not in a casino.

You can find Kansas gaming laws at KRGC.ks.gov