A mother from San Diego, California, claims that the popular children's arcade and restaurant Chuck E. Cheese features "illegal gambling machines" that give children tickets based entirely on chance. KTLA reports that these slot machine-type games are different than the machines that you would find in a typical casino because they give out tickets instead of money. However, this difference doesn't necessarily mean that such a machine is legal.
"Under California law, it doesn't matter if it pays out money," attorney Eric Benink said in KTLA. "What matters is whether it pays out anything of any value. In this case it pays out tickets, which are redeemable for prizes."
San Diego mother Denise Keller filed a class action lawsuit on March 29 against CEC Entertainment, owner of Chuck E. Cheese. If a judge or jury sides with the plaintiff in this case, Chuck E. Cheese could be required to remove all of its arcade games that are based on chance and pay back money to the people that placed tokens into those machines. The amount of damages could be worth millions of dollars.
Capitol Weekly reports that the chance games at Chuck E. Cheese may not only violate California laws, but that they may be a violation of federal gambling laws as well. Keller’s lawsuit seems to be part of a growing opposition to arcades that promote gambling-like games, where some people claim that such games can lead to serious gambling problems when the children grow up.
Hence, arcades all around the United States should perhaps stick to games like Ski Ball and Whack a Mole — games that are fun and require some skill.
There are two Chuck E. Cheese arcades in Atlanta as well as one in each in Decatur, Norcross and Jonesboro.