A proposed Michigan law redefines “slot machines” and at least one analyst contends it would make many Chuck E. Cheese children’s arcade games illegal.
State Rep. Cynthia Neeley (D) introduced House Bill 5227 to broaden the definition of “slot machines” to, theoretically, include electronic gaming devices.
As Michigan Capitol Confidential points out, Neeley’s new definition seemingly encompasses arcade games children play where they use a token and receive tickets that are good for cheap merchandise and low-grade candy.
HB 5227 adds this language to 1931 Public Act 328:
As used in this chapter, “slot machine” means any mechanical, electrical, electromechanical, or other device, contrivance, or machine that, on insertion of a coin, token, or similar object, or on payment of any consideration, is available to play or operate.
The play or operation of the slot machine, whether by reason of skill of the operator or application of the element of chance, or both, may deliver to or entitle the person playing or operating the machine to receive cash, premiums, merchandise, tokens, or anything of value, whether the payoff is made automatically from the machine or in any other manner.
“If legislators do not narrow the bill’s definition of slot machines, businesses such as Dave and Busters and Chuck E. Cheese would be subject to gambling laws,” the news site reported. “Games where a player can earn tickets and exchange them for prizes would be considered gambling.”
Some of those popular, yet apparently sinister, children’s games include “Skee-Ball” and “Paw Patrol Wheel Spin.”
“This bill is a classic example of politically caused unintended consequences,” Mackinac Center director of labor policy Steve Delie told Capitol Confidential.
“Unless the Michigan Legislature wants to make it a felony for kids to play at the arcade, the proposed law should be seriously amended or scrapped altogether.”
Delie argues the new definition is so broad it would outlaw “what is clearly recreational activity”.
Neeley, whose husband is Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley, did not announce the legislation on her website, nor respond to Capitol Confidential’s attempt for comment.
Nelley’s bill, which has four co-sponsors, was introduced October 25 and referred to the House Committee on Regulatory Reform.
In September, a study found Michigan is “among the saddest states,” WGRD reported. Wallet Hub ranked Michigan the 33rd happiest state when analyzing emotional and physical well-being, work environment, and community and environment.
It’s unclear how taking Chuck E. Cheese games away from children would impact those rankings.