, Salem, MA

March 27, 2014

Our view: Looking for answers on Lucky 7

The Salem News

---- — State and local police, acting on the call of the state attorney general’s office, raided and shut down Lucky 7 arcades in Gloucester and Danvers last June. It took another seven months before the AG’s office outlined a charge against the business.

In a visit to the Gloucester Daily Times earlier this month, Attorney General Martha Coakley outlined what she sees as the differences between a business such as the Lucky 7 and restaurant chains like Chuck E. Cheese and Dave & Buster’s, which also offer slots-style games that pay off in prizes instead of cash.

Coakley noted that Chuck E. Cheese, Dave & Buster’s and other such establishments offer these games — what you might call recreational gaming — as “ancillary” entertainment. Lucky 7 built solely around recreational gaming at both its Rogers Street and Liberty Tree Mall sites, she said.

That raises questions such as the one posed by Lucky 7 owner Sam Parisi in a letter to the Times: “Does this mean that, if Lucky 7 starts selling food, it can operate, like Chuck E. Cheese or Dave & Buster’s?” That seems a valid point.

The bottom line is that this family business remains shut down. Beyond the direct charges in this case, state lawmakers and the attorney general’s office still need to clarify whether these machines are a form of gaming or not. Perhaps, we’ll all come away with a clearer and better defined gaming law — and one that’s applied equally to all.