Bill Addresses `Gambling' Phone Cards

By Price, Marie | THE JOURNAL RECORD, February 19, 1999 | Go to article overview

Bill Addresses `Gambling' Phone Cards


Price, Marie, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Some businesses are selling long-distance telephone cards that are also chances in lotteries or other types of gambling, which is illegal under Oklahoma law, Rep. Mary Easley, D-Tulsa, told the House Rules Committee Thursday.

Easley said her House Bill 1406 would define machines that dispense such cards as slot machines or gambling devices. Under the bill, the mere fact that a device has another purpose in addition to gambling would not affect its character as a gambling device.

Slot machines are not allowed under Oklahoma law unless they are 25 years old and not used for gambling purposes, or are used only for teaching slot machine repair. Other gambling devices, which generally involve the exchange of money for the chance to win something of value, are not permitted at all. "We're beginning to see these machines everywhere," said Senior Attorney General Neal Leader. "They are running a virtual lottery under the guise of selling a phone card." He said as many as 60 percent of purchasers do not use the telephone-call feature of the cards. Easley said these cards are sold in bars, bingo halls, convenience stores, airports and Indian bingo halls, among other places. Answering a question from Rep. Chris Hastings, R-Tulsa, Leader said that telephone call/lottery chance cards being sold at grocery checkout stands come under another portion of law. He said these are also illegal if an individual has to purchase them in order to participate in the game. …

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