It's not gambling
October 20, 2002
Any parent who's ever staged their child's birthday party at a Chuck E. Cheese should take heart. An official ruling is likely soon from the Mississippi Gaming Commission that what the children are doing inside that playful place is not gambling.
Last week, the commission put out for public comment a ruling that redefined gambling games to protect children's arcades from being classified as casinos. The new standard for what is gambling and what is not excludes any game that awards tickets or tokens, redeemable for toys, based upon player skill.
The commission, following a period for public comment, is expected to take a final vote on the changes at its November meeting.
The change was necessary. The commission's crackdown on gaming devices located away from licensed casinos had resulted in Mississippi Supreme Court decisions that found such arcade machines illegal under existing law. The high court recently held that amusement machines that dispense something of value upon the insertion of a coin are illegal slot machines.
The justices said the issue of payoff under state law is not limited to tokens and coins. They said there was no practical difference between a credit awarded to a player and a token dispensed from a machine.
But let's not punish the children for adult activities.