Claim: Chuck E. Cheese kids’ games amount to gambling

by Walter Olson on May 16, 2011

“A San Diego woman has sued the company that owns the Chuck E. Cheese’s family restaurant chain, claiming that many of the games intended for children at these locations are actually illegal gambling devices — like slot machines.” [San Diego Union-Tribune, Above the Law ("Can you imagine growing up and being known as the kid whose mom sued Chuck E. Cheese?")] For other class actions based on creative theories that something “amounts to” gambling, see this site’s reports from 1999 (Pokémon and other kids’ trading/collecting cards) and 2008 (“Deal or No Deal” TV show).

{ 4 comments }

1 Bill H 05.16.11 at 2:42 pm

Trust me on this- a game of whack-a-mole is NOT the same as a slot machine. A slot machine can be set for a certain amount of holdback, is regulated to have a minimum amount of payout ( I think it’s 87% here in California, which is considered extremely tight), and is a direct money in-money out device. I don’t think Chuck E. Cheese has anything like that. There is a different class of slot machines that take your money and pay out in prizes, but those are still nothing like a Chuck E. Cheese game.

2 Bill Alexander 05.16.11 at 3:30 pm

Now, if they just had whack-a-lawyer, . . .

3 Ben S 05.18.11 at 3:47 pm

I’d totally support suing them for serving crappy pizza. My childhood was ruined by low-quality pepperoni!

4 Sam T 05.18.11 at 9:08 pm

You have to admit…paying money to play a game that gives you “currency” (tickets) based on your performance that you then go “buy” prizes with is a lot like gambling.

What’s with the value of those prizes too? Maybe it’s not gambling because there is 0% chance kids will win anything of value.

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