Posted Monday, January 12, 2015 9:14 AM | Contributed by Jeff
lt Disney World plans to stop dispensing prizes at its hotel video-game arcades, and Florida's ban on Internet cafes may be to blame. Prize redemption counters at the resort's hotels, where kids turn in game points for toys and candy, are being closed. The hotels and other spots in the resort are also losing claw machines. The law spells out that people can't win more than 75 cents' worth of prizes for each game played, and that the games have to be operated by coins.
Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.
The whole reason this mess started was when the Seminole Indian tribe file a lawsuit against these "Senior Arcades" since it was pure online gambling saying they were illegal since they have a charter with Tallahassee which gives them exclusive rights to gambling in Florida. The attorneys for these "Senior Arcades" dragged in redemption arcades to help get the focus of attention off of them. That's when they looked into the Florida statues 849.161 which was created to stop these senior arcades. This statute is very vague and does not fully identify what type of games that are in a redemption arcade. They lump them altogether as gambling machines. So the attorney Mike Wolf who represents the "Arcade and Bingo Association" does not represent redemption arcades like cec, d&b, disney or any other redemption arcades be it a local chain or a mom and pop operation. Disney was fighting this but instead decided that protecting the brand's image to be the top priority. If the individuals that don't like arcades or consider them "gambling for kids" are not getting the point. At the bottom of the Sentinel story they should have seen where an investigator was sent in to see if Disney's arcades where violating the law. The investigator said that they are not violating the gaming law. Some of the games we have here are app games that more than likely these individuals have on the phones or tablets. Apparently I didn't realize Fruit Ninja, Doodle Jump and Cut the Rope were gambling games.
Yes Disney is removing the redemption games because of this statute and the failure of the bills in the Senate and House that defined the difference between gambling machines and redemption/amusement machines.
As for the claw games, if people did their homework, NJ has a law on the books that states claw games are to be play till you win games. There are cranes that are set for play till you win. There is this law called gravity that interferes with things being picked up. So you have to keep trying until the crane has a good grip on the right part of the toy in question. Which requires skill. I've seen lots of guests win 2 or 3 toys in row which definitely skill in my book.
If all these redemption games are so "evil" as people say then why do so many guests play in our arcades? If they were a blight to Disney, the guests wouldn't play in the arcades and Disney wouldn't have them in the first place. No matter how the guest does on the game they still win a ticket or tickets. Over the years I've seen kids grow up that play in the arcades and they have not turned into gamblers... They play to have fun, if they win tickets in the process that great, if they don't that's great too.
Gaming machines like video poker, blackjack, slots etc...they are designed to give the house the advantage. They don't want you be big winners they just want you to lose lots of your money in these machines...and maybe give a small win depending on the programming of the computers which includes a random number generator.
The other big picture that no one seems to see is the loss of thousands of jobs from the coin-op industry because of all this. This not only includes the employees and owners, but also the technicians that repair the games among others. Why should we be punished because of ignorant politicians and lawyers?
We've been dealing with this in Ohio off and on for a while now.
It boils down to this. Casinos and Racinos, legal in Ohio (but heavily regulated) have games of chance. They fall into one category. The Internet Cafes (that's what we call them here) are games of skill. The operators set the machines so the player has to recognize a potential hit and physically "bump" the reel(s) to the right spot for a payout. So you still spin to win but you have to use judgement besides. It's a stretch to call that "skill", I know, but it keeps the places open and away from gambling regulations.
And our arcades, FEC's, putt-putts, skating rinks, Dairy Queens, and other places that offer games of skill are still cranking out the tickets.
So I find it so odd that redemption games in Florida fall into the category of gambling along with games of chance found at reservation casinos. They clearly require some form of skill, or manipulation by the player, to produce wins. This seems so cut and dry, it makes me wonder what's goin on down there. And you'd think Disney would have the power (and motivation) to stand and straighten this out. Guess not.
Excellent point about the loss of jobs and wages associated with coin-op.
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