Video Slot Machines | St. Louis Public Radio

Video Slot Machines

Electronic Gambling Machines
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

They look like slot machines. They sound like slot machines.

But they aren’t in casinos — which is the only place you are supposed to be able to find slot machines in Missouri. 

Thousands of new gaming devices have been popping up at gas stations, veterans homes, union halls and fraternal lodges across the state. Their growing presence has raised the hackles of state regulators and the traditional gambling industry, which says the machines are draining business from them. 

How Has The 'Crack Cocaine Of Gambling' Affected Illinois? The State Hasn’t Bothered To Check.

Feb 21, 2019
Orville Dash, 81, said he spent about $2,400 a week on video gambling machines at the height of his addiction, in 2015 and 2016. He often played at locations around his home in Maroa, Illinois, a farming community of close to 1,700 in central Illinois.
Whitney Curtis, special to ProPublica Illinois

Orville Dash sits in a recliner with a clipboard. Tall and broad-shouldered, with wispy white hair where a pompadour once rose, the former statistical engineer for Caterpillar removes a sheet of paper, clicks on the flashlight he uses for reading and goes over his numbers.

One spin every six seconds. Ten spins a minute. Six hundred spins an hour.

The 81-year-old widower estimates that, at his worst, in 2015 and 2016, he spent about $2,400 a week on video slot machines, which he played at a hotel and a handful of restaurants and bars around his hometown of Maroa, a farming community of close to 1,700 people north of Decatur in central Illinois.