Legal or Not?

A new game is showing up in bars all over the state.

BankShot is receiving mixed reviews from those who enjoy the game and from those who believe it violates state law.

BankShot looks like a video game. Nine pool balls are arranged in a grid and quickly move across the screen when you press start. The goal is to press stop at a particular pattern which is worth a certain amount of money. Players can wager up to $4 per game and have a chance to win a jackpot.

Opponents of the machine say the game is more about chance, and less about skill. Games of skill that are played for money are legal, while games based on chance are prohibited under Nebraska law.

Supporters say there's no doubt, skill is involved to play the game successfully.

"Its hand eye coordination. You've got to be fast. You've got to recognize the combinations that come up," said Sheri Gillispie.

Opponents also say the game, which isn't currently taxed in the state and unfairly competes with other games that are taxed. When they place it in next to a Pickle Machine, the average consumer that walks in to a bar has X amount of disposable income and they can either put it in the Pickle Machine or the BankShot? machine," Jim Ritzman, a member of the Sowers Club, said.

The Sowers Club is the largest Pickle Card seller in the state and uses a portion of Pickle Card sales to go toward grants for local charities. The group believes it's organization could suffer if it's forced to compete with BankShot.

"If they put it [their money] in the BankShot machine, then of course that lessons our revenue," Ritzman added.

Nebraska State Patrol and the Attorney General's office are currently investigating the legality of the machines.

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