• Senate Bill 397 Passes out of Committee


    Contact:    Andrew Allison, Acting Director
                     Kessarin Horvath, Senior Communicaiton Associate

    Senate Bill 397 Passes out of Committee
    ATLANTA (March 6, 2020) | On Tuesday, the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee voted to pass Senate Bill 397, sponsored by Sen. Larry Walker (R – Perry). SB 397 would revise the standards of operation for Class B coin operated amusement machines (COAMs).
    “Coin operated amusement machines, or video poker machines, have taken over our state in record numbers,” said Sen. Walker. “They have established themselves in our local gas stations and convenience stores, and although intended to only offer noncash merchandise, these machines are often associated with illegal cash payments and attract an undesirable element. With more COAM machines popping up, our neighborhoods have seen higher instances of crime and vulnerable individuals have fallen into a cycle of addiction. This bill would not eliminate COAM machines, but rather provide for greater local control over the quantity of machines and increase the percentage of net revenue going to education.”
    Under SB 397, municipalities could limit, by local ordinance, the number of Class B COAMs per public location to as few as three. Current statute allows for up to nine machines per location and gives local government the authority to limit them to no fewer than six. Additionally, the bill would increase the percentage of net receipts retained by the Georgia Lottery Corporation from 10% to 20%, as well as reduce the percentage of net receipts provided to the master license holder from 45% to 40%, and the local operator from 45% to 40%.
    SB 397 has now been sent to the Senate Rules Committee for consideration. To read SB 397 and track its progress, you can follow this link: http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20192020/SB/397.

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    Sen. Larry Walker serves as the Majority Caucus Vice Chairman.  He represents the 20th Senate District, which includes Bleckley, Houston, Laurens and Pulaski counties.  He may be reached by phone at 404.656.7454 or by email at larry.walker@senate.ga.gov.