Local bars reconsider Bank Shot
VIDEO GAME’S LEGALITY IN QUESTION
HASTINGS - Local business owners are monitoring a dispute that questions the legality of a new videogame sweeping across the state.
Mike Chase, owner of Miscues, 316 S. Elm Ave., said some of his customers enjoy playing BankShot?, but if the game is ruled illegal, it won’t affect business.
“Whether we have it or not isn’t really a big deal,” he said.
On Friday, Attorney General Jon Bruning’s office asked the Lancaster County District Court to declare the Bank Shot games,which are in nine Hastings businesses, illegal.
The counterclaim was made in response to a lawsuit filed by the game’s owners, American Amusements Co. in Bellevue. The suit asked the court to declare that the game involves skill and is therefore legal in Nebraska.
In Nebraska, games that are purely based on luck are illegal unless voted in through an election,such as keno, horse racing and pull tab cards. Games that are based on skill are legal.
Bank Shot is a touch-screen game that shows players patterns on a 3-by-3 grid of numbered balls. Players press a button to start and stop the game,attempting to stop on a winning pattern. There are 30,000 patterns built into the game with about 27 patterns shown in each minute of play.
Each player wages between 25 cents and $4 in hopes of winning a progressive jackpot that increases as the game is played across the state. This morning, the highest jackpot amount was $17,000.
Game designer John Fox said he wasn’t surprised by the counterclaim made by the attorney general’s office.
“Frankly, we look forward to a legal resolution to the case,” he said.
Fox, president of American Amusements, said the case is about the legality of the game,which has been tested at three different facilities and none have determined it to be a game of chance.
But for at least one local business owner, the game feels too close to gambling.
Virginia Wolz, owner of the Olive Saloon, 423 W. Third St., said since the game awards a cash prize, it feels like gambling. She has only had the machine in her bar for two weeks but is considering removing the game. She said she hasn’t had many people play the game and she doesn’t want to take any chances.“I don’t want to do anything illegal,” she said. “I’m just not a gambler.”