Connecting the Dots on State Prize Per Play Limit Laws

November 2, 2013 No Comments

There are now more than 20 states that have laws that limit the maximum value of a prize that can be won per play from a redemption or merchandise dispensing game. The limits vary from 75 cents/play in Florida to $5 in Georgia to $10 in Ohio and so on to $35. The domino effect appears to be continuing as at least three states are currently considering adopting maximum prize per play limits, such as California with a proposed $10 maximum prize limit.

These laws have been brought about as an “easy fix” for those states desiring to shut down video gaming (adult arcades) and sweepstakes games, but the legislative web has unintentionally entangled much of the legitimate amusement game industry. These laws adversely affect amusement parks, family entertainment centers, carnivals, bowling and skating centers and also those companies that manufacture amusement games and supply prizes, tickets, tokens, debit card systems, bill changers, ticket centers and many other products and services.

Our industry obviously has a huge public relations problem. Why is it that most state legislators don’t understand that the amusement game industry is different from the gambling industry? The legal gambling industry has done an excellent job of erasing any line in the sand and adding to the confusion by calling itself the gaming industry. Could it be that the amusement industry has not drawn a clear and deeper line in the sand between the two industries? Perhaps the reason is that some in the amusement industry feel that the proper response is to continue to keep our heads in the sand and do nothing because many of the new laws are not being strictly enforced?  This is not a solution, as these state laws still hang over the industry and any local sheriff or police chief can choose to grab the headlines and go after a violation.

The good news is that the amusement industry is now starting to take a proactive approach.  Several AMOA state associations have hired lobbyists to educate the legislators on this issue and propose law changes to existing laws and amendments to proposed laws. California now has a new AMOA state association that was formed to address a proposed $10 prize limit law. AAMA has initiated a legal defense fund. Manufacturers of merchandise dispensing games are making sure their games are certified as skill based and comply with the laws of each state, offering special adaptations for a specific state when required.

All of these actions are good and necessary but do not take on the big picture that this is a public relations issue. It is a simple fact that individuals and families enjoy playing amusement games. They love winning tickets and redeeming prizes and winning prizes. It is a tradition. Our industry is well positioned to get this word out to the local and national media. Disney owns ABC. Comcast owns Universal Studios (Wet n Wild, Orlando), NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC business network.  Time Warner got out of the amusement park business several years ago but still licenses characters (i.e. Warner Brothers) to several amusement parks and owns CNN and Time Magazine. CBS Viacom also previously owned amusement parks. These are the entities who are in the best positions to help our industry.

On the local level, FECs and amusement parks should be discussing the subject in newspapers and on television and radio. AMOA, AAMA and IAAPA can write articles and even white papers on the subject. Disney could assist in the key states of Florida and California to lobby legislators to raise prize limits to at least a few hundred dollars so the public has the chance to win the electronic gadgets that they so desire. Florida is a key state. If the law is amended, it would have a positive effect on other states.

The public relations battle is never ending, but one that is worth fighting. Be assured that the sweepstakes and video poker/slot machine groups will continue to fight for legalization of their market on a state by state basis. Our job is to make sure that the amusement game industry is associated with skill based games and not gambling machines. It is this distinction that is necessary for our industry to survive. -

(Scott C. Borowsky is president and executive editor of Tourist Attractions & Parks magazine and Frank Seninsky is president and CEO of Amusement Entertainment Management.)

Back

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Sponsors

Extreme Engineering

Industry leader in zip lines, climbing walls, jumper systems and adventure products.

Deltronic Labs Inc.

Ticket dispensers.

Laser Star

Laser shooting galleries, laser tag, dark ride target systems, overhead target ranges.

Omega Carpets

Printed carpeting for all your facility needs.

Look Solutions

Fog machines.

Kay Park Recreations Corp.

Picnic tables, grills, park benches, planters, trash containers and more.

Safari Ltd.

Leading manufacturer of innovative educational toys.

A'maze Ventures, Inc.

Mazes for every location, new and used.

Birthday University

Concept development, training and birthday party touring seminars.

Center Edge Software

Facility Management Software Solutions

Sacoa

Designed and manufactures PlayCard, the rechargeable debit card system.

Knight Equipment

Drive cables for ferris wheels, Tilt-A-Whirls, Rock-O-Planes and many others.

Master Pitching Machine

Batting cages and pitching machines.

Jane Farrell Turf and Carpets, Inc.

Commercial carpet, printed and decorative patterns, loop and cut-pile construction. Wall coverings in fluorescents, Class A fire rated. Colored turf, both traditional and neon colors.

Bulbtronics

A premier source for lamps, LEDs, batteries and lighting-related and electrical products.

Belson Manufacturing Co.

Park and recreation outdoor furniture and equipment.

Challenger Industries

Sports surfaces, carpets and mini-golf surfaces.

Soft Play

Leader in designing, manufacturing and installing soft contained playground equipment.

Xtreme Inflatables

Repair and service for all inflatable products.

American Changer

Bill and coin dispensers and counters, ticket machines and more.

Penny Press

Penny souvenir machine, great for parks, FECs, bowling and skating centers, museums and tourist attractions.

Action Lighting Co.

Lighting supplies.

Ride Development Corp.

Electric floor, gas and battery-powered bumper cars.

Hoffman Mint

Tokens, medals, coins and key tags.

Art Attack

Theming, miniature golf, parade floats, 3D props, air-brushed murals, signage and art panels.

Mahoning Valley Mfg.

A complete line of Imperial strollers, wagons and safari utility vehicles.

Splashtacular

Manufacturer of waterslides

Chestnut Identity Apparel

Uniform supply, embroidered apparel and flag manufacturing.

Tokens Direct

A wide variety of tokens.

Poly Products

Tables, benches and related products. Green products for a green world.

Precision Dynamics (PDC)

Wristbands with no hidden costs, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Wristband System.

SnowMasters

Evaporative snow systems.

Tarobots

Boxerjocks robotic boxing amusement ride game attraction.

Davis & Davis, Inc.

Planning consultants for wet/dry attractions, mini-golf, go-kart tracks and laser arenas.

Namco

Namco America is a premier manufacturer of coin-op arcade attractions, ranging from the hottest titles like Crazy Typhoon and Jumpin’ Jackpot to classic game-room experiences such as the Pac-Man 25th Anniversary upright that features Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga. Specialized pieces such as Wonka Sweetland and Flamin Finger are favorites too! For arcade gaming fun, Namco America is your answer.

R&R Creative Amusement Design

Designers of unique themed parks, attractions and environments for the entertainment business.

Embed

Provides innovative IT products and services with a primary focus on card-based solutions and database applications for the leisure and retail industries.

Rio Syrup

Over 250 flavors, syrups and concentrates for shaved ice, sno cones, shushes, food colors. Now featuring Hawaiian Flower Cups.

Store on Wheels

Importer and distributor of quality toys, lighting and novelties. Cater to the amusement, retail and entertainment industries.

Fast Corp Vending

Frozen food vending machines

Quik N' Crispy (QNC)

Quik n’ Crispy greaseless fryer.

GloCones

Flashing cotton candy cones.

Money Tree - ATM

ATM machines.

Lakeshore Merchandise (Smart Vending)

Premier vending supply for all of your vending equipment and supply needs.

Gold Medal Products Co.

Concession equipment, foods and beverages, popcorn, pretzels and snack foods.

Brunswick Bowling

Entertainment bowling center developer and manufacturer of bowling equipment and entertainment products.

CFX Composite & Effects

Special effects make-up and prosthetics

Johnny Rockets
LMap Powered by Silvercrest
Premier Polysteel
Spectrum Sports
Cannonball Blaster
Funovation
Empex Water Toys