Fighting for the legality of pinball and overturning anti-pinball laws

(Topic ID: 228838)

Fighting for the legality of pinball and overturning anti-pinball laws


By scp

10 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 19 posts
  • 14 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 days ago by Insane
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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    #1 10 days ago

    So my hometown of Beacon, NY is one of those places where pinball is still illegal. Specifically, "amusement centers" with three or more post-1980 pinball or post-1990 arcade games are banned. This rule had previously been used to shut down a neat little retro arcade museum in 2010 (at which point the rule was updated to allow for pre-1980 pins/pre-1990 video games). The Times covered the incident here: https://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/13/nyregion/13towns.html

    I've been pushing the mayor and City Council to overturn this ban, and spoke on the topic at a City Council meeting last night. In case anybody is interested, video is here (begins at 2 minutes in): https://vimeo.com/299136243#t=120s

    I admit I come off as somewhat of a crazy person ranting about pinball (the WTF looks of the people behind me are very telling), but think I win them over at exactly 5:56 in when the dude behind me starts nodding his head and doesn't stop until I'm done.

    It's ridiculous that anti-pinball laws are still on the books anywhere. Speaking to members of the Council, I feel it is very likely we can get this one overturned. If anybody else is aware of any other lingering anti-pinball laws in their towns, let me know and I can share my playbook if I'm successful here.

    #2 10 days ago
    Quoted from scp:

    It's ridiculous that anti-pinball laws are still on the books anywhere.

    There are ridiculous laws on every book everywhere.

    Impossible to find and get rid of all of them. Not to mention time and money involved.

    LTG : )

    #3 10 days ago
    Quoted from scp:

    So my hometown of Beacon, NY is one of those places where pinball is still illegal. Specifically, "amusement centers" with three or more post-1980 pinball or post-1990 arcade games are banned. This rule had previously been used to shut down a neat little retro arcade museum in 2010 (at which point the rule was updated to allow for pre-1980 pins/pre-1990 video games). The Times covered the incident here: https://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/13/nyregion/13towns.html
    I've been pushing the mayor and City Council to overturn this ban, and spoke on the topic at a City Council meeting last night. In case anybody is interested, video is here (begins at 2 minutes in): https://vimeo.com/299136243#t=120s
    I admit I come off as somewhat of a crazy person ranting about pinball (the WTF looks of the people behind me are very telling), but think I win them over at exactly 5:56 in when the dude behind me starts nodding his head and doesn't stop until I'm done.
    It's ridiculous that anti-pinball laws are still on the books anywhere. Speaking to members of the Council, I feel it is very likely we can get this one overturned. If anybody else is aware of any other lingering anti-pinball laws in their towns, let me know and I can share my playbook if I'm successful here.

    That’s insane! I can’t believe they would actively use it! Nutty. Shutting down a pin museum?!

    Quoted from LTG:

    There are ridiculous laws on every book everywhere.
    Impossible to find and get rid of all of them. Not to mention time and money involved.
    LTG : )

    The fact the town actually took the time to use that archaic law to shut down a pin museum is absolutely insane. Great example of frivolous government waste.

    I wanted to start a Pin Museum Upstate, are there statewide laws on the books in New York?

    #4 10 days ago

    The Beacon law (viewable here: https://ecode360.com/14825794?highlight=amusement#14825794 ) is not state, but city. Not a lawyer, but I know of no such state laws, and encourage you to definitely start that museum. Perhaps in Beacon, once we overturn this rule!

    Feels tragic that the guy's awesome little museum got shut down, and hope to keep that from happening again.

    #5 10 days ago

    I know that locally to me, Free Gold Watch in San Francisco had to help overturn arcade rules in the city. My friends had to go before the city council to ask them to allow more pins to be in one place. Obscure law on the books for awhile...

    Regardless, they succeeded and now have a great established Pinsite for the West Coast!

    #6 10 days ago
    Quoted from scp:

    So my hometown of Beacon, NY is one of those places where pinball is still illegal. Specifically, "amusement centers" with three or more post-1980 pinball or post-1990 arcade games are banned. This rule had previously been used to shut down a neat little retro arcade museum in 2010 (at which point the rule was updated to allow for pre-1980 pins/pre-1990 video games). The Times covered the incident here: https://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/13/nyregion/13towns.html
    I've been pushing the mayor and City Council to overturn this ban, and spoke on the topic at a City Council meeting last night. In case anybody is interested, video is here (begins at 2 minutes in): https://vimeo.com/299136243#t=120s
    I admit I come off as somewhat of a crazy person ranting about pinball (the WTF looks of the people behind me are very telling), but think I win them over at exactly 5:56 in when the dude behind me starts nodding his head and doesn't stop until I'm done.
    It's ridiculous that anti-pinball laws are still on the books anywhere. Speaking to members of the Council, I feel it is very likely we can get this one overturned. If anybody else is aware of any other lingering anti-pinball laws in their towns, let me know and I can share my playbook if I'm successful here.

    I love this guy!!!!

    THanks for fighting the good fight!

    It really does suck that that place went tits up because of this nonsense. I helped him fix a couple pingames 10 years or so ago and it was a pretty cool spot. The majority of his stuff was EM arcade machines...cranes, racers, shooters, bombers, all that stuff.

    #7 10 days ago
    Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

    The fact the town actually took the time to use that archaic law to shut down a pin museum is absolutely insane.

    There was a lot more to it, at the time. Read the posts on Rec Games Pinball for more information.

    LTG : )

    #8 10 days ago

    Yep: I believe factors such as a landlord dispute and noise complaints played a part. But the anti-pinball law (which the landlord seems to have dusted off) was used as a weapon to shut down the business. It still needs to go.

    #9 10 days ago

    Watch Adam Kiesler's story of a new legalization in 2017 here:


    .................David Marston

    #10 9 days ago

    Perhaps someone local to Pittsburgh can correct me on the exact specifics, but places serving alcohol were limited to five "amusement devices" at a tax rate of $50 or $100 per year. If you had six "amusement devices" the tax rate shot up to something like $1000 per year for all "devices" including the original five. In this case "amusement devices" wasn't just pinball and video games, but also included jukeboxes, pool tables, skill cranes etc. I might be off on some of the numbers above, but that's why until recently Pittsburgh didn't have a barcade scene. Apparently the laws were relaxed or repealed in the past couple of years.

    Wisconsin also has some weird laws regarding tournaments IIRC. Something about no money exchanging hands at all or something.

    #11 9 days ago
    Quoted from FlashDaddy:

    Perhaps someone local to Pittsburgh can correct me on the exact specifics, but places serving alcohol were limited to five "amusement devices" at a tax rate of $50 or $100 per year. If you had six "amusement devices" the tax rate shot up to something like $1000 per year for all "devices" including the original five. In this case "amusement devices" wasn't just pinball and video games, but also included jukeboxes, pool tables, skill cranes etc. I might be off on some of the numbers above, but that's why until recently Pittsburgh didn't have a barcade scene. Apparently the laws were relaxed or repealed in the past couple of years.
    Wisconsin also has some weird laws regarding tournaments IIRC. Something about no money exchanging hands at all or something.

    Pittsburgh was ~$800 per pin up until recently, but it looks like they lowered it significantly. I am not sure what machine a pin falls under, but make no mistake... Anything with a coin drop needs a tax stamp.

    Screenshot_20181107-050658_Drive (resized).jpg
    #12 9 days ago
    Quoted from JodyG:

    Pittsburgh was ~$800 per pin up until recently, but it looks like they lowered it significantly. I am not sure what machine a pin falls under, but make no mistake... Anything with a coin drop needs a tax stamp.
    [quoted image]

    That was it. I only heard the details second hand, I just knew it was insanely expensive. In Seattle it's a flat $100 per machine per year.

    #13 9 days ago
    Quoted from FlashDaddy:

    That was it. I only heard the details second hand, I just knew it was insanely expensive. In Seattle it's a flat $100 per machine per year.

    Wow, they'll tax anything these days.

    #14 9 days ago
    Quoted from Spyderturbo007:

    Wow, they'll tax anything these days.

    No doubt. Numerous Blood Suckers.

    #15 9 days ago
    Quoted from Spyderturbo007:

    Wow, they'll tax anything these days.

    They tax everything these days.

    #16 9 days ago
    Quoted from ovfdfireman:

    They tax everything these days.

    This isn't anything new. I have a Donkey Kong, that has a tax sticker on it from back in the day.

    #17 9 days ago
    Quoted from Insane:

    This isn't anything new. I have a Donkey Kong, that has a tax sticker on it from back in the day.

    That’s not really it though. Tucson is $6/game per year for the sticker. Then 2.5% or so in “sales” tax to the state every month. If it was $100/game I wouldn’t have even bothered.

    #18 9 days ago

    I remember drinking in a hotel bar in Freeport, IL talking to some locals in the early '00's. The topic turned to weird local laws and one of the locals mentioned that pinball was illegal in that city. My head almost exploded. I don't remember the reason, probably going back to the time when pinball was viewed as a gambling machine. I also have no idea if that law was ever repealed.

    #19 7 days ago
    Quoted from desertT1:

    That’s not really it though. Tucson is $6/game per year for the sticker. Then 2.5% or so in “sales” tax to the state every month. If it was $100/game I wouldn’t have even bothered.

    I was just commenting on the tax in general, those numbers above are ridiculous. Maybe not on the poker machines, but any normal vid or pin, that's outrageous.

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