Oakland Expected to Lift 80-Year Ban on Pinball Machines

California city to decriminalize pinball machines when city updates its gambling laws this week.

The city of Oakland, Calif. is expected to lift its 80-year ban on pinball machines when the City Council's public safety committee meets this week to approve the measure, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Thousands of cities across the United States, including Oakland, banned pinball in the 1930s because the machines were used for gambling. At the time, they did not have flippers, and people paid a nickel to play, unable to control where the ball traveled.

"It had the illusion of skill but was mostly a game of chance, sort of like the coin toss at the county fair," director of the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda Michael Schiess told the paper. "All you had to do was pull the plunger back and see what happened next."

Flippers were invented in the 1940s and the game grew in popularity, despite the bans. Still, some cities, like Beacon, N.Y., enforced the ban as recently as 2010. The Pacific Pinball Museum even had to register as a nonprofit and remove all coin slots from machines to be in accordance with the law. In San Francisco, business owners need a license to have pinball machines in their establishments.

However, the pinball machine ban in Oakland has been forgotten since the World War II era, the paper reports. The measure, which goes before City Council tomorrow, is part of a larger campaign to update gambling laws in the city. This will also include a ban on Internet sweepstakes offers.

Earlier this year, a Massachusetts town lifted a 32-year ban on coin-operated arcade games. The town of Marshfield originally banned arcade games in 1982 on the grounds that they were too addictive for children.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
45 comments
fgjnfgh
fgjnfgh

my dad loves flippers, I'd probably turned out to be homeless if my father had spend a little more time playing them than he used to

Pewbert
Pewbert

But alcohol, tobacco and firearms are all available to buy.

What a crazy mixed up world we live in.

fgjnfgh
fgjnfgh

@Pewbert dude gambling is everywhere now, it's even in Twitch.tv lol

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

Well there goes my business selling illegal pinball machines. 

el_swanno
el_swanno

They only missed the last pinball craze by 20 years.

The early 90s was a golden age for pinball. Sadly many of those classic machines are falling into a state of disrepair. The pubs around my area have had The Creature From The Black Lagoon, Indiana Jones and Star Trek The Next Generation over the last few year and unfortunately they rarely work 100% correctly.

brygdom
brygdom

News flash:


Many games still continue to be addictive to not only children but adults.


Where are the bans now?

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

lol JFC

And I thought where I lived was bad...
 

3.2% alcohol
Can't buy liquor at the grocery store
must be 21 to smoke cigarettes


spacecadet25
spacecadet25

"And then the hookers come to town, shaking their behinds for all the menfolk." --- Tommy Boy

fgjnfgh
fgjnfgh

@spacecadet25 they used to call it behinds back then? I don't know what other words we are going to use in 20 years from now. It's like every now and then use of words gets worse

jedicommand7
jedicommand7

I can just see the new pinball gambling joint opening on a shady Oakland street now.

DrKill09
DrKill09

What's with all these places and retarded laws?

RicanV
RicanV moderator moderator

Great first they lift the ban on pinball machines. What's next? Small towns are going to allow dancing?

spikepigeo
spikepigeo

This is just one, small, fine example of how sluggish and bloated our law-making system is.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

The ban on internet sweepstakes offers is a far better idea.

frozenuxx
frozenuxx

*insert The Twilight Zone theme here*

Micropixel
Micropixel

Wow... I never knew Pinball machines were illegal here. I don't any of us ever knew! 

Conversation fuel for work later! :D

Daian
Daian

Wait, what? Pinball is illegal in some places? lolwut.

Vojtass
Vojtass

Pinball machines are awesome. Machines with soul. I love them.

Lionheart8472
Lionheart8472

lol a ban on pinball machines. What's next? Banning gamers for saying I'll play you NHL 15?

blackothh
blackothh

We will never achieve warp 1.

Setzera
Setzera

There are a lot of things that are a gamble, stocks, investments, home ownership.  But, at least pinball was a fun, and often cheaper way.  Something tells me, people may never be smart enough to run a planet some day.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

The old pinball machines must have paid something out if you won, rather than tracking high scores.  Otherwise I can't see how this is gambling (simply being a complete game of chance is not the definition of gambling).

simsumre
simsumre

This is California we're talking about... these people are as close to "walking dead" as one can be without a T virus.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@simsumre  This is Oakland though, isn't full of gang-bangers?  Are they just going to shoot up the new pinball machines in celebration anyway?

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@jake198624  They legalized medical marijuana before pinball machines.  Not saying medical marijuana is bad, but should be way more controversial than pinball machines.

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

Shouldn't all paid forms of entertainment be considered gambling if a pinball machine is...?  There's never a guarantee you'll have a good time, wither it's a movie, a bike rental or a game of pinball... it's all a gamble... stupid laws are stupid... targeting games over everything else.

day3002
day3002

gambling laws change now? they will defo tax it.

homey_d_clown
homey_d_clown

1930???

Why wasn't the law changed in the 1940's when they added Bumpers?

And this is why all laws should have an experation date, and be subject to change by the public.

hitomo
hitomo

*this is how we say goodbye in german

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@hitomo  If feel like your post is missing either the word or phrase used to say goodbye in German.  Or do you mean:

A. Germans saying nothing rather than saying 'goodbye'?

B. Germans intentionally give incomplete thoughts when saying 'goodbye'?

C. Germans literally say "this is how we say goodbye in German" instead of saying 'goodbye'?

D. By legalizing pinball machines?

amaneuvering
amaneuvering

It took 80 f'n years to figure out they were out of touch with reality regarding this particular matter.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@northshire  The people that still play pinball machines are old enough to remember when they were legal, and probably the people that pushed this law change through.

northshire
northshire

They're out of touch with reality if they think people still play pinball machines. 

tomservo51
tomservo51

this is a bad idea, it's going to corrupt our youth.

Too-DementeD
Too-DementeD

@tomservo51 I stood on the grass when there was a sign saying "Do not stand on the grass".
I'm already corrupted.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@jake198624 @tomservo51 @Too-DementeD  I almost forgot about those little rewinders, we had one too (briefly).  It was supposed to be faster than rewinding on the VCR, and it was supposed to help keep your VCR in working order longer (because rewinding was supposedly hard on the VCR).

Blockbuster charged for not re-winding?  Their motto should not have been "Be kind, rewind," instead it should have been "Rewind or Eat Sh*t"