SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

June 13, 2013

AG: No comment on arcade probe

Fate of Lucky 7 may hinge on cyber café law

(Continued)

A call to Tarr’s office yesterday afternoon was not returned as of press time.

Marquis said selectmen will get a brief update on Tuesday, but it’s doubtful any action on Lucky 7 Arcade’s amusement device license will be taken at this time.

How the issues are interpreted “is fairly new,” he said, and ultimately the attorney general “will be explaining their interpretation of the law.”

The attorney general’s office has moved aggressively to crack down on cyber cafés it says are fronting as illegal gambling establishments.

On June 7, the attorney general’s office announced that an owner of an Internet café in Chicopee had pleaded guilty to charges of running an illegal slot parlor, and the corporation, Cafeno’s Inc., in addition to pleading guilty to the same charges, also pleaded guilty to falsifying state tax returns. The guilty pleas were met with stiff fines and two years’ probation.

While there is some question about whether the cyber café law applies to the amusement devices and operations of the Lucky 7 Arcade, given that there appears to be no sweepstakes involved, the state’s 2011 gambling act did tighten rules on operating gambling devices.

The gambling act defined what a slot machine is: being a game of chance or skill or both. It also outlawed anyone from operating a gambling device without a license.

Parisi applauded the cyber café law as “a necessary safeguard against unscrupulous business owners.” Her argument was that Lucky 7’s games depend on skill, not chance or a sweepstakes, and so they comply with state law governing automatic amusement devices, such as pinball machines.

But skill may not be the issue here. While the law refers to machines that depend “in whole or in part, on the skill of the player,” such as pinball machines, the law was also tightened in 2011 with the coming of the state’s gambling act so that the definition of amusement devices expressly does not include slot machines. The state law Parisi cites also forbids amusement devices being used for gambling.

 

 

 

 

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