A new law in Florida that outlaws video gambling applies to kids and adult arcade machines, including some that are featured at franchises like Chuck E. Cheese, according to a report.
“I’m not going to go arrest Chuck E. Cheese in front of a bunch of 6-year-olds,” Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez told the Miami Herald.
Hialeah officials confiscated 72 machines in cafes and arcades that aren’t legal under the new law that was signed into effect by the governor last month. But Hernandez said he won’t go after kids’ games.
“If the governor and the Legislature want that, they can come and do it themselves,” he said.
The machines in question are known as maquinitas, which call themselves “Internet cafes” and “arcades” and are catered to senior citizens.
The Herald noted that games at Chuck E. Cheese games offer prizes that include merchandise worth more than 75 cents. The new law stipulates that prizes can’t be worth more than that.
In many Chuck E. Cheese games, kids purchase 25 cent tokens and depending on the score for the game, the tickets can be used to claim prizes. If one obtains more tickets, they can get a better prize, including some worth $20.
“As we understand it, this legislation is not intended to target restaurant and entertainment companies such as Dave & Buster’s, Disney and others who operate games of skill,” April Spearman, vice president of marketing for Dave & Buster’s, a franchise that has games that could be confiscated in the new law, told the paper.
She said, “While we continue to believe this legislation should not impact us, we are working with local law enforcement to understand the new law and ensure we are in full compliance.”
Two years ago, San Diego mother Denise Keller claimed that Chuck E. Cheese games could turn kids into habitual gamblers. She sued the chain for $5 million because the games promote illegal gambling.
Her lawyer, Eric Binink, told the Union Tribune at the time: “We don’t think that children should be exposed to casino-style gambling devices at an arcade.”