, Salem, MA

August 16, 2013

Lucky 7 customers left holding points

Prizes can't be collected following raid, shutdown

By Marjorie Nesin
Staff Writer

---- — The June police raids on the Lucky 7 arcades in Danvers and Gloucester not only left the Gloucester family who owns the arcades in financial turmoil but wiped out any value of points customers had earned at the two locations and left them wondering where to turn.

Beverly resident Paul Savoy said he and his wife had planned to cash in their nearly $200 worth of points for gift cards to a favorite Danvers restaurant. They decided to hang on to the points and redeem them the following night, because the arcade had run out of gift card prizes to that particular restaurant.

“Then, the next day, I believe it was, we heard they were closed,” Savoy said. “I thought what an absolute waste of time, sending state police there. This is a totally 100 percent innocent operation that was just a load of fun.”

When Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office shut down the business on June 11, it also froze the business bank accounts and all Lucky 7 assets held by owners Rosalie and Sam Parisi. Authorities also seized motherboards from the arcade’s game computers.

Two months later, the state has yet to press any charges against the business or the family. And, under the statute of limitations, the state could hang on to the seized assets for up to five years.

The attorney general’s office has declined to comment on the case, calling it an ongoing investigation. The Parisi family, which has remained mostly quiet since the initial closure, did not return calls for comment this week.

Savoy said he can only hope that the state releases the assets and allows the family to reopen the business — not just so he can redeem his $200 worth of prizes, but so customers can return to enjoying the facilities, and for the sake of a family he had never met.

“I judged (the Parisi family) by what I saw at Lucky 7, and I never saw anybody out of line there. It was just a mellow, mellow, fun place,” Savoy said.

Savoy and his wife would visit the arcade’s Danvers location with friends four to five times a week, not for a shot at riches, but to socialize and spend some time out, he said. Sometimes, they would use restaurant gift cards they frequently redeemed from points won at the arcade to eat dinner out before heading to play the games.

Other customers, who preferred to hang on to their points and use them to play again, were also left hanging after the raid.

Barbara Tadiello first played at the Lucky 7 in Gloucester, then started visiting the Danvers location when the Parisi family opened a branch in the Liberty Tree Mall last year. Tadiello, rather than trading in her points won for gift cards, would save the points and redeem them for playing time.

“I figured, when I go back, I’ll have money to play again, and I’ll do that,” Tadiello said.

Tadiello guessed that a lot of her fellow retirees who played the games were in the same boat as she and Savoy.

On top of her points having lost their worth, Lucky 7’s closing left her with “nothing” as far as comparable options for enjoying time with peers.

“The people that you’d sit next to, we would talk and get to know each other and all. It was really great,” Tadiello said. “I just hope they can come back.”

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451.