SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

September 24, 2012

Town wonders if ban on Internet cafes extends to Lucky 7

DANVERS — Officials are questioning whether the casino-style Lucky 7 Arcade with its penny video slot games will run afoul of a new state law aimed at cracking down on electronic devices used for illegal gambling in Internet cafes.

The adult arcade’s devices at the Liberty Tree Mall may fall under a law set to take effect Nov. 1.

The issue is whether Lucky 7’s games are games of chance or games of skill.

Lucky 7 LLC has operated a location in Gloucester for six years and a few months ago opened an arcade at the mall on Independence Way. The machines at both locations mimic slot machines but require some skill to play, Lucky 7’s owner says.

Officials are also questioning whether the new law might extend to coin-operated amusement devices that pay off tickets that can be redeemed for prizes.

“It’s a fluid situation,” Town Clerk Joseph Collins said. “We are doing our due diligence.”

In April, selectmen, by a vote of 4-1, approved Lucky 7 LLC’s applications for 41 coin-operated amusement devices. The town received license fees of $100 per machine, and the applications were approved. Selectman Gardner Trask was the lone dissenter, and since then, he’s been leading the charge to rescind approval for Lucky 7’s machines.

Earlier this month, Trask questioned whether the new state law may apply to Lucky 7. Since then, Collins, Town Manager Wayne Marquis, the town attorney and police Chief Neil Ouellette have met on the issue. The town is also surveying other communities for answers. So far, the state has not given much direction, but Collins said the town wants to make sure Lucky 7 and other operators of amusement devices are in compliance when the law changes.

“We are trying to move on this so we have a definitive action or answer by Nov. 1,” said Collins, who sent out letters this week to all operators seeking more information.

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