Could OC Arcades Take A Hit From New State Regulations? - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Could OC Arcades Take A Hit From New State Regulations?

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OCEAN CITY, Md. - Arcade owners in Ocean City are speaking out, worried that new state regulations could signal lights out for a boardwalk classic.

It started back in 2012, when the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill trying to cut down on illegal electronic gambling.  Now, arcade owners throughout the state, especially in Ocean City, worry new regulations could impose fees they say are unnecessary.

New regulations and fees, proposed by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission, could pull the plug on this summertime staple.
     
They wouldn't directly impact games like skeeball, or the games at places like Chuck E Cheese, where players try to earn tickets to win a prize.  Instead, arcades would pay a $50 licensing fee per-year, for each game where the prize is worth more than $30.

Chris Trimper, manager of Marty's Playland on the boardwalk says that makes up about 10 percent of the machines on the floor, and "that's an extra $500 a year."

It's a blow Trimper, whose family has owned Marty's Playland since 1991, says only adds insult to injury for the industry that's already taken a blow from handheld and home video games.

"So, we have to do all we can in this amusement business to have fun prizes and exciting stuff, so that things you can't do on Xbox at home, you can come to Marty's Playland for skeeball and prizes," says Trimper.

Another worry, at a place where excited yelps of kids is about as loud as the games themselves, the new regulations could lump arcades in with adults-only casinos.

"They can keep coming back to an arcade," says Trimper, "you may not want to keep going to a casino.

The owners say the fight isn't over, while the period for public comment already ended, there's a plan to start circulating a petition sometime next week.

This regulation wouldn't only impact Ocean City arcades, but anywhere in Maryland with these types of games.

In a statement, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency said:

"In passing this legislation, the General Assembly gave the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission specific guidelines to work within when crafting regulations. 

We've made a good faith effort to follow the law while taking into account the concerns of the industry that now will be regulated."

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