Mike Moser, Executive Director of the Wyoming State Liquor Association, testimony on Senate File 56 on March 4, 2021

Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, Mike Moser, Wyoming State Liquor Association.

We support Senate File 56. As amended. We also supported it before it was amended. And I’ll get into why. There are over 300 reasons I’m sitting here in front of you to support this bill. None of them are present, none of them are even in this building, because most of would be illegal in this building [COVID restrictions].

And that’s the 300 plus businesses that have these skill games, the vast majority of them liquor retailers, bars, fraternal organizations, veterans organizations, clubs like that.

These skill games are the reason why some of them are still in business. I owned a bar for years, for those of you who don’t know me. A successful bar, and watching this process through the pandemic, I’m absolutely stunned as many businesses have survived.

I can’t imagine. This is the most difficult time to be in the liquor business since prohibition.

And these skill games were a lifeline, something we could rely on a continuous sort of source of revenue when we were open.

And so for that reason, we support this legislation.

There are two primary issues for us. Number one, of course, is the elimination of the sunset. There’s basically a death sentence hanging over these 300 plus businesses, many of them who are still struggling, who are still relying on that revenue stream.

Also, the moratorium on new games, I noticed there’s some hesitancy, there’s two different aspects of that, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee.

First of all, there were a number of businesses that had skill games, as you know, and then those skill games were declared non compliant and the Gaming Commission did not allow them to put in compliant machines through no fault of their own.

Also, there’s a number of businesses that didn’t have skill games. I know of one in particular, one of the owners happens to be a retired person who sets and judges people.

And he called me and he said, Is there anything in statute that allows us and I said, No, but there’s nothing illegal either there.

 It’s kind of a gray area.. He said, I’m not putting them in until they’re legal.

Well, we made them legal but he can’t put them in. And so I do think that’s an important aspect.

I will get into a couple other details. And I’ll finish up.

But I do want to thank you, committee, because I know how hard you worked, because we all sat here to get 171 passed.

And I want you to maybe think a little bit about what you did to save some small businesses, some livelihoods, because this bill did that. And that’s why the sunset is so important.

The amendments, I’m fine with you know, my concern committee is with those two concerns that we have the sunset and the moratorium, that this bill get lost in a feud between skill games operators, kicking the snot out of the Gaming Commission, whatever.

I know, those are important issues to some, and I think it’s laudable, but please do not lose sight — the most important thing, are the people in your district that have used these machines to stay around.

Of the amendments, the only one I’ll really speak to that needs changed is the background information. The bit about and I think you have an amendment to take the assault on another individual to felonious one.

A buddy of mine told me that, and I was a bar owner so I can say this: that we have a nickname for bar owners who’ve never been involved in a physical altercation, we call them restaurant owners.

  It’s one of the inevitabilities – unfortunately, some people are stupid and drink too much.

And so the other aspect, of course, is the way it’s written now is if you’re a 19 year old, and somebody is physically rude to your girlfriend, and you smack them and they press charges, the way through and now you can have a skill game for the rest of your life.

I think that’s a little extreme. So I would support that aspect of the amendment.

With that, and that’s on page nine. With that, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I appreciate this opportunity.

Once again, I thank you for your work, and I want you to remember what you’ve meant and your work has meant to these businesses. I’ll take any questions. Okay, questions for Mike.

Thank you. Okay, next please.