- The highway patrol seized several "amusement devices" from Torch Electronics.
- Torch filed a lawsuit against the state over seizure and subpoena.
- Senator Dan Hegeman wants Torch's machines out of Missouri.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - A legal battle is brewing between Wildwood-based Torch Electronics and Greene County prosecutor Dan Patterson after some of Torch's gambling machines were seized from a Springfield convenience store last week.
Torch Fights Back Against Demands
Upon receiving a 15-minute search warrant, the Missouri Highway Patrol raided an AM-PM Food Mart where they seized multiple gambling machines purported to be owned or operated by Torch. Additionally, Torch was issued a subpoena demanding the provision of several documents by July 16.
Torch outright refused to comply with said demands, and instead filed a motion to invalidate the subpoena.
“These government officials continue to threaten to remove Torch devices based solely on their own incorrect interpretations of Missouri gambling laws,” Charles Hatfield said in the lawsuit he filed.
Amusement Devices Or Gambling Machines
The lawsuit also claims that “Compliance with the subpoena would be unreasonable and oppressive, as Torch is legally entitled to own, operate, and license its amusement devices under Missouri law.”
Patterson is standing his ground on the issue, claiming “there is substantially more than a reasonable possibility that [Torch’s] machines are illegal gambling machines.”
Senator Dan Hegeman seems to agreewith Patterson stating:
“I’m passionate about getting after these illegal machines who are stealing money from our kids for their own personal benefit. It makes me mad. It makes me upset. They need to be taken out. They need to be destroyed. They need to get out of the state of Missouri."
It's also worth noting that Torch provided over $275,000 to political action committees tied to former Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley. According to The State Ethics Commission, Tilley is a lobbyist for Torch.
The Effect On Missouri Gamblers
The crackdown on Torch Electronics and their "amusement devices" could result in these machines being removed from more convenience stores if they lose their lawsuit. Fans of these in-person machines may lose access to them, and in the case of this outcome, could always look more into online gambling instead.