New regulations for arcade games of skill in Ohio

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ELYRIA, OH – These days, going to the movies is not just about grabbing a popcorn and soda before taking a seat.

At Atlas Theater in Elyria, movie-goers like to press their luck by playing arcade games.

General Manager Nathan Herrington says, "It shows them as having a prize there. And it's like going to Cedar Point or the county fair, they can try to win something."

Lorain Music and Vending has been supplying arcade machines  throughout Ohio for the past 70 years.

But now, along with others in their industry, they will have to abide by a new system in place to license games of skill, such as claw machines that nab prizes or arcade games that issue tokens or tickets.

The Ohio Casino Control commission says the goal of this new system is to easily identify legitimate gaming business throughout the state as well as weeding out the scammers.

Director of Games, Andromeda Morrison says, "The goal of this legislation and new rules is really two-fold. One, to validate and legitimize those businesses that are good corporate actors, those who follow the guardrails on how skill games are operated in Ohio."

But gaming owners believe this new system will be a major blow to their industry, with expensive licensing fees to the tune of up to $6,000, every three years.

Michael Zappa, president of Lorain Music and Vending says, "It's a financial burden and plus it's a paperwork burden. I mean, we have to monitor things, you have to show reports on certain prizes, how the prizes were expended, in addition to the license, we all have to be licensed now."

"I certainly understand their position and their frustration on this, but just like every other regulatory structure, you know the good doctors pay so that the med board can go after the bad doctor,” said Morrison.

Gaming companies will now have until July to comply.

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