CAMDEN, Del.- Video gambling machines are back on at veterans and fraternal organizations across Delaware.
In November the state told groups the machines were operating illegally and had to be shut off. State legislators passed a law in late January to allow these machines to go on again. It required an application process with the goal of having machines back on by late February or early March.
"I think every one of these machines has been played since they've been turned back on," said Larry Clark, Moose Lodge #203 administrator, while looking around the lodge.
He said his members are glad the machines are back. They officially turned on again Thursday.
"As soon as I saw them back on, I had to put a little bit of money in to play it," said Alice Coventry. "I am very glad. I play them every time I come in. I enjoy it."
The state lottery is responsible for licensing the machines. It started accepting applications Feb. 5.
"It was a very smooth process, no bumps in the road," said Vernon Kirk, director of the state lottery.
Kirk said there have been 39 applications and 33 approvals, with six pending, so far. That's a large portion of the organizations that have the machines but not all.
"We understood there were more than that - maybe double or more than that. But for whatever reason, they have not applied for licenses."
The approved machines now have gambling addiction stickers and official numbers. And Cark has to get the state its required percentage of the money that goes into the machines each month.
"It's more than we were doing before," he said. "But to get them back on, if that's what they want us to do, we have no choice."
The lodge got $600 out of the machines its first four days back in operation. Money like that should allow the Moose members to start back up something lost during their time off.
"We'll have a little extra money that we can give to charities around the community," said Clark.
The law that turned the machines back on expires June 30. Legislators hope to have a permanent solution by then. Clark says right now the state gets too much of the machines' proceeds. He's hoping the permanent law gives the state a smaller cut.
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