The Parisis’ Lucky 7s don’t pay off in cash at all; players win merchandise prizes such as gift certificates to local restaurants. And in a letter obtained by The Salem News’ sister paper, the Gloucester Daily Times, the Parisis’ attorney, Eric Tennen, said he was told by state Sen. Bruce Tarr that no one in the Legislature thought the new law would criminalize what was already allowed.”
“I think it plainly obvious that the Legislature did not intend to criminalize what was already legal (e.g. Lucky 7, Chuck E. Cheese’s, Dave and Busters, etc.),” Tennen wrote. “However, they did not harmonize the new law with the old.”
Sadly, that’s not surprising in the true legislative tradition. And Tarr’s and Tennen’s expressed beliefs make perfect sense. In fact, when the Parisis moved toward opening their Liberty Tree arcade last year, Tarr and others seemed to confirm that the facility would not land on the wrong side of the law.
Now, however, the Parisis are not only out of business; they are all out of their jobs, they have had their commercial bank accounts shut down, and they have more than $150,000 worth of assets under state control — even though they stand accused of no crimes.
The family also paid the city of Gloucester $100 in fees for each of the 50 machines it operates on Rogers Street — a cool $5,000 that they are unable to recoup from customer revenue. And then there are the customers — mostly senior citizens — who simply enjoy taking a chance on winning prizes that support other local businesses.
An investigator found it impossible for a customer to increase his or her odds of winning by stopping the electronic “reels” on the game, as reportedly suggested by some Lucky 7 employees to undercover officers. That is among the concerns cited as a reason for the raid and shutdowns.