All You Need to Know About Buying Used Slot Machines

Used Hot Shot Slot Machine by BallyYou might be wondering, can I buy a slot machine for my home? Before I wrote this guide to buying used slot machines, I had the same question.

I always thought it would cool to buy a real money slot machine or video poker machine for our house—something like Hot Shot by Bally, or a Game King machine from IGT.

So I started researching how to buy gaming machines.

I quickly learned that buying a used slot machine in the United States is a lot more complicated than you might think.

Not only do you have to locate the right slot machine for sale and pay for expensive shipping costs, but you’ll also need to know whether it is illegal or not to own a slot machine in your state.

The last thing you need is to have local and state law enforcement show up to confiscate your gaming machine and assess a stiff fine–or worse, threaten a jail sentence.

Is It Legal to Own a Slot Machine?

In the US, it’s not the federal government that determines if you can own a slot machine, it’s the state where you reside. So besides the price and availability of gaming machines, potential buyers should know the gaming laws of their home state.

Below, I have categorized the states according to the type of slot machine ownership laws they have passed. This should make it easy to browse and find out whether your state allows you to own the gaming machine of your dreams.

Slot Machine Laws by State*

STATE LEGAL STATUS LEGAL REFERENCE
Alaska ALL LEGAL Alaska Statutes – Section 11.66.260
Arizona ALL LEGAL Arizona Revised Statutes 13-3301 – 13-3309
Arkansas ALL LEGAL N/A
Kentucky ALL LEGAL Kentucky Revised Statutes 528.080
Maine ALL LEGAL Maine Revised Statutes Title 17A – Chapter 39
Minnesota ALL LEGAL Minnesota Statutes and Criminal Laws
Nevada ALL LEGAL N/A
Ohio ALL LEGAL Ohio Revised Code
Rhode Island ALL LEGAL Rhode Island General Laws
Texas ALL LEGAL Texas Statutes Chapter 47
Utah ALL LEGAL N/A
Virginia ALL LEGAL N/A
West Virginia ALL LEGAL N/A
California MACHINES 25 YEARS OR OLDER California Penal Code 330.7
Colorado MACHINES MANUFACTURED PRE – 1984 Colorado Revised Statutes 12-47.1-103
Delaware MACHINES 25 YEARS OR OLDER 28 Delaware 904
Florida MACHINES 20 YEARS OR OLDER Florida Statutes 849.235
Georgia MACHINES MANUFACTURED PRE – 1950 Georgia Code Title 16, Sec. 16-12-24
Idaho MACHINES MANUFACTURED PRE – 1950 Idaho Statutes Title 18, 3810
Illinois MACHINES 25 YEARS OR OLDER Illinois Compiled Statutes 720 5/28-1
Iowa MACHINES 25 YEARS OR OLDER Iowa Code 725.9
Kansas MACHINES MANUFACTURED PRE – 1950 Kansas Statutes 21-4306
Louisiana MACHINES 25 YEARS OR OLDER Louisiana Title 15:31-1
Maryland MACHINES 25 YEARS OR OLDER Maryland Code Article 27-264B
Massachusetts MACHINES 30 YEARS OR OLDER Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 271, Sec. 5A
Michigan MACHINES 25 YEARS OR OLDER Michigan Compiled Statutes 750.303
Mississippi MACHINES 25 YEARS OR OLDER Mississippi Code 27-27-12
Missouri MACHINES 30 YEARS OR OLDER Missouri Revised Statutes 572.070 & 572.125
Montana MACHINES 25 YEARS OR OLDER Montana State Code 23-5-153
New Hampshire MACHINES 25 YEARS OR OLDER New Hampshire Revised Statutes 647:2
New Jersey MACHINES MANUFACTURED PRE – 1941 New Jersey Statute 2C:37-7
New York MACHINES 30 YEARS OR OLDER New York Consolidated Laws 225.32
North Carolina MACHINES 25 YEARS OR OLDER North Carolina General Statutes 14-309.1
North Dakota MACHINES 25 YEARS OR OLDER North Dakota Century Code 12.1-28-02
Oklahoma MACHINES 25 YEARS OR OLDER Oklahoma State Statutes 21-964
Oregon MACHINES 25 YEARS OR OLDER Oregon Revised Statutes 167.147
Pennsylvania MACHINES 25 YEARS OR OLDER Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes 5513
South Dakota MACHINES 25 YEARS OR OLDER South Dakota Codified Laws 22-25-14.1
Vermont MACHINES MANUFACTURED PRE – 1954 Vermont Statutes Title 13, Ch. 51, Sec. 2135
Washington MACHINES 25 YEARS OR OLDER Revised Code of Washington 9.46.235
Washington, DC MACHINES MANUFACTURED PRE – 1952 District of Columbia 22-1704
Wyoming MACHINES 25 YEARS OR OLDER Wyoming Statute 6-7-101
Alabama PROHIBITED AL Code Section 13A, Chapter 12, Article 2
Connecticut PROHIBITED Connecticut Chapter 946, Section 53-278a
Hawaii PROHIBITED Hawaii Statutes §712-1226
Indiana PROHIBITED Indiana Code 35-45-5-4
Nebraska PROHIBITED Nebraska Revised Statutes Section 28-1107
New Mexico PROHIBITED NM Gaming Control Bd. v. Ten Gaming Devices
South Carolina PROHIBITED South Carolina Code §12-21-2710
Tennessee PROHIBITED Tennessee Code §39-17-505
Wisconsin PROHIBITED Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 945

Where to Buy Slot Machines Online

Now comes the fun part: buying your first slot machine. Finding a used slot machine vendor online is the easy part. With a minimal amount of research, gaming memorabilia collectors can find countless places to buy used slot machines.

Slot Machine Resellers

  • Slot Machines Unlimited
  • Gamblers Oasis
  • Slot Machines USA
  • Old Time Slots
  • LA Slot MacBright’s.,
  • Bright’s Antique Slot Machines
  • San Diego Antique Slot Machines
  • Wee Chin Electric Machinery Inc.

Auction Sites

Those who don’t want to shop at outlets they are not familiar with can try the biggest online markets. While Amazon does not seem to have many casino slot machines for sale, eBay is a gold mine for Antique slots.

eBay’s list of used slot machines includes categories like Antique, Bally, Glass, IGT, Jennings, Video, and Vintage. The Antique Coin Slot Machines page contains everything from spare parts for $6 to full antique machines ranging into the thousands of dollars.

NOTE: The Vintage Slot Machines listings on eBay include a lot of knick-knack items from the first half of the 20th century. Make sure you understand the size of these items you buy because many tiny replica machines are on sale online. If a machine is $10, it’s probably a toy.

Where it legal to own slot machines in the United States?

Americans believe in the decentralization of power and the concept of checks and balances, so the United States of America is a patchwork of jurisdictions. Most gambling laws are handled at the state level. And state’s rights are often championed by local citizens. That is good for the people of the country because it keeps corrupting power out of a relatively few hands. But it is terrible when it comes to trying to understand the gambling laws state-by-state.

To allow people to browse easier and quickly find a shortlist of banned, legal, and restricted sales of slot machines, below, I break down the categories.

States Where Owning Slots Is Illegal

In 9 different U.S. states, it is illegal to own slot machines. Many of the states listed are anti-gambling bastions. Hawaii is one of two states which ban all forms of gambling, along with Utah. It is no surprise to see a comprehensive ban in the Hawaiian Islands. Southern states like Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina tend to enact laws based on socially conservative values, so one should not be surprised to see a ban on private slot machine ownership there. Nebraska is a red state, and Wisconsin is currently the home of Gov. Scott Walker, so both lean conservative at the moment, too.

Connecticut is a gambling-friendly state, known for its two massive tribal gaming casinos: Foxwoods Resort and Mohegan Sun. Connecticut might have anti-ownership laws for slot machines to protect their native gambling industry.

  • Alabama
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Wisconsin

States Where Owning Slots Is Legal

In the following 12 U.S. states, it is legal to own any type of slot machine. No restriction exists on owning slots at all. As readers can tell from the lists further down the page, restrictions usually exist on the age of the gaming machine. The idea is to allow vintage gaming machine aficionados to own older slots. At the same time, gamblers who want to own the latest, cutting-edge electronic slot machines often cannot make those purchases legally.

The twelve states listed below have no such restrictions. It might not seem strange to see that Nevada has no such limits since Las Vegas and Reno are gambling-friendly. What might seem odd is to see Utah, where all gambling is illegal, has no such restrictions. Texas and Arkansas, which hardly are gaming capitals, also have no limits. Kentucky, which usually features its horse racing industry over casino gambling, does not ban the ownership of slots.

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • West Virginia

States Where Slot Machines Must Be 25 Years Old

Seventeen states have a law that states that slot machines owned by private non-licensed citizens must be 25 years old or older. Note: that does not mean the owner has to be 25 or older. It means the gaming machine must be a quarter of a century old. The idea is the machine must be an older make or model, so the collectors of the machine are likely to want vintage slot machines for the sake of nostalgia.

When many of these laws were written, the 25-year rule meant that owners would be collecting mechanical slot machines, instead of the EGMs used in casinos these days. Note that several of the states listed are gaming-heavy states: California, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and the state of Washington. Some simply tend to have liberal laws.

  • California
  • Delaware
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Washington (state)
  • Virginia
  • Wyoming

What Is Allowed – Older Machines Can Be Bought

A handful of states also stipulate that a gaming machine must be a certain age, but have arbitrary time frames besides 25 years. Below is a list of seven U.S. states with time stipulations in the laws. Next to each state is the age a gaming machine must be before it can be purchased.

  • Florida – 20 Years Old
  • Illinois – 20
  • Massachusetts – 30 Years Old
  • Missouri – 30
  • New York – 30
  • Georgia – 50 Years Old
  • Idaho – 50

Legal to Own – Year Stipulation

Five states and the District of Columbia take a slightly different approach to the states, which set a time limitation on slot machine purchases. In the following states, a slot machine has to have been manufactured before a particular year to be legal. In most of those cases, the machine has to have been built in the 1940s or 1950s (the Golden Age of slot machines). In those cases, the people who buy such machines are likely to be collectors of rare items.

In the case of Colorado, a slot machine has to have been produced before 1984 to be legally purchased. The early-to-mid 1980s is when slot machines stopped being built with mechanical reels and instead were designed as electronic game boxes with microchips and video screens. Therefore, Colorado gaming law restricts sales to vintage machines with mechanical reels.

  • New Jersey – Before 1941
  • Pennsylvania – Before 1941
  • Kansas – Before 1950
  • Washington DC – Before 1952
  • Vermont – Before 1954
  • Colorado – Before 1984

This should give you a basic understanding of the places you can buy used slot machines online, how much you’ll have to pay to have them delivered, and whether it is legal to own such a fun device in your part of the USA. I recommend that those who live in places where slot machines are illegal should avoid any chance of breaking the law. You don’t want to have to explain how your vintage slot machine collection is not used for profit. Even if you convince the authorities that they don’t need to arrest you, they might confiscate your expensive used slot machine.

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