Mechanical amusement regulations approved

The Nebraska Department of Revenue will determine in advance of distribution whether certain mechanical amusement devices are games of skill or chance under a bill passed May 23.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist12' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. Steve Lathrop'>Sen. Steve Lathrop</a>
Sen. Steve Lathrop

LB538, introduced by Omaha Sen. Steve Lathrop, adds electronic video games of skill to the definition of a mechanical amusement device and requires the department to determine if such devices are games of skill or chance.

Device distributors will pay a $500 application fee, submit a sample game to the Nebraska Department of Revenue, provide evidence that the device is a game of skill and provide an affidavit to the tax commissioner that no functional changes will be made to the device’s hardware or software without the commissioner’s approval after the license is granted.

LB538 also requires game owners to pay an annual $250 licensure fee per device and sets a maximum of four devices for establishments up to 4,000 square feet in size. Larger establishments are allowed one additional device per 1,000 square feet up to a maximum of 15.

Possession of an illegal device will be a Class II misdemeanor. Mechanical amusement device owners are allowed to continue operating existing devices while the department conducts its review.

The bill establishes 19 as the legal age to play such devices and bars use of credit or debit cards for payment.

LB538 was approved on a 44-0 vote.

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