Phillips 66 Has A Message For Its Missouri Operators: No Pre-Reveal Games

Written By Darren Cooper on August 12, 2022
Major retailer officially rejects pre-reveal games at Missouri stores

Phillips 66 has revealed its feelings on Missouri’s so-called ‘pre-reveal’ machines. They don’t like them and they don’t want them used in their establishments.

Phillips 66 spokesperson Bernardo Fallas said in an email to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“We expect the operators of these branded stations to abide by local and state laws. We do not condone illegal gambling or any other illegal activities.”

The battle over the slot-machine-type devices seen in various gas stations and convenience stores across Missouri continues. Lobbyists say they aren’t games of chance because the player can see the result before they play — hence the name ‘pre-reveal’.

Opponents, on the other hand, say they’re just like slot machines because of the methodology of play and the type of payout involved. The inclusion of a pre-reveal factor doesn’t automatically mean it’s not a game of chance.

What is legal gambling in Missouri?

Missouri has several riverboat casinos but no online gambling and no land-based casinos.

Missouri sports betting was a hot topic in the state in the past legislative session and lawmakers indulged in a somewhat friendly back-and-forth with their counterparts in Kansas over which state would be the first to approve the activity.

Kansas did go forward with sports betting. While the Missouri legislature remained deadlocked on the proper tax rate on the enterprise — stuck between 21% and 10%.

However, it is worth noting that if these ‘pre-reveal’ machines continue to be used throughout the state unregulated then Missouri is tacitly approving gambling within its borders. If a pre-reveal machine is fair game, why not sports betting?

Major potential host Phillips 66 86’s pre-reveal games

Phillips 66 is a major fuel supplier for gas stations in Missouri that deals in wholesale products. While its name might not be on the marquee outside of the gas station, it’s the main provider of the gasoline purchased there.

These video machines have been spotted at Phillips 66 stores, and police have seized some and had them destroyed saying they are against the law.

How do you play a pre-reveal game?

Players approach such machines and can press a button that shows the outcome of their bet before they spin the reels. But the hook is that while it shows you the next result, it does not show you the one after that, so players keep playing in hopes of getting a winning spin.

The player has to play their losing hand for a chance to win again. Proponents call them “no chance” machines, so they are unregulated by the state of Missouri.

Critics say that’s not fair because it means the state is missing out on taxable revenue.

Also, there are no rules for payouts and no responsible gaming initiatives associated with the games.

What is the law in Missouri anyway?

Missouri lawmakers have not codified a law that would outlaw the machines. Despite attempts to do so, including Senate Bill 632 which sits in committee.

One of the main companies that own the machines, Torch Electronics, has joined with Warrenton Oil in a lawsuit against the Missouri Highway Patrol that has been working to eradicate the machines at gas stations and liquor stores.

Attorneys on both sides are due in Cole County court for a status hearing in August. Separate charges have been filed against businesses using the machines in six different counties.

Possession of a potential gambling device, which rose in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, carries a max penalty of one year in prison and a $2,000 fine.

Photo by Thomas Trompeter/Shutterstock
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Darren Cooper

Darren Cooper was born and raised in Southern Louisiana, just a short pirogue ride away from New Orleans. He started his journalism career at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and has been a writer and columnist in New Jersey since 1998. He's won 14 statewide press awards and earned his first Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 award in 2022.

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