Chuck E. Cheese’s being sued for use of redemption games

arcadehero May 13, 2011 7

A San Diego real estate agent has decided that because she feels that the redemption games her kids played at a local Chuck E. Cheese (after several visits to the location mind you) didn’t involve enough skill and had spinning things like wheels, that she deserves to be awarded $5 million in damages from a federal lawsuit she has filed against the company. CEC hasn’t said much about the case other than that the machines aren’t illegal in California and that if they were in fact illegal, then the plaintiff has admitted to participating in illegal gambling.

I don’t often go to bat for redemption games but it’s not hard to see that this is patently ridiculous. If the plaintiff were really doing it ‘for the children’ then there is no reason to ask for any money in “damages” in the first place. She is of course claiming that the real reason for the suit is to prevent CEC from using any redemption games at any location of theirs in the country, again in the name of the children(all the jobs that would be lost and lives affected if in fact redemption machines were banned, well that’s not so important when $5 million could be padding your bank account) . She’s even requesting a jury trial to hopefully tug at their heartstrings over some sob story involving children. It’s not Chuck E. Cheese’s fault that she decided to take her kids to play these games and it’s not their fault if they weren’t any good at the games either. That is often the negative perception with redemption, where high difficulty is mistaken for chance/luck(it was a problem for pinball for sometime too, until a pinball pro showed some lawmakers that there was indeed skill involved in the game).

Read the story about the lawsuit here.


  1. DarkTetsuya May 13, 2011 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    one of your tags says ‘dump people’… just sayin

    But yeah that lady’s so full of s***. Indeed if it really were ‘looking out for the children’ and not some lame attempt at cash-grabbing she wouldn’tve asked for any money, let alone to the sum of $5M.

    With any luck she’ll be laughed out of court and that’s the last we’ll hear of her…

    • arcadehero May 13, 2011 at 6:58 pm - Reply

      Hehe, nice catch. I fixed it.

      I think that’s why she’s asking for a trial jury. She probably feels she has a better chance at getting her money from a swooning jury than a single judge. But stranger/dumber things have happened so who knows.

  2. Barrie Ellis May 14, 2011 at 1:51 am - Reply

    Sweet Jesus…. That’s bonkers.

  3. Arcades4ever May 14, 2011 at 4:25 am - Reply

    If she doesn’t approve of the games JUST DON’T GO ON THEM. As if that all kids go there for, they should just on the softplay or another place. If they were winnning for money then I suppose I could understand but if its tickets then theres no problem. Why can people like that just stay away from arcades, I played on some games when I was little that was sometimes a chance but me and my parents didn’t go as far as to sue someone for our own actions. If you don’t like gambling machines just don’t go! Simplay as 😛

  4. Michael Kohne May 14, 2011 at 6:14 am - Reply

    Sadly, I’m REALLY not sure how this is going to play out. On the one hand, obviously if she thought it was a bad idea she shouldn’t have repeatedly taken her kids to CEC. I know I don’t take my kids to CEC that often, and I try to steer them toward games that are at least more obviously skill than luck.

    On the other hand, I remain unconvinced that some of this equipment has a skill basis at all. Some obviously does (ski-ball, basketball machines). With others, I’m less convinced. I can’t tell if the stories I see of people claiming that the games cheat (such as folks claiming that Flamin Finger runs the clock faster as you approach the end) are real or just so much sour grapes.

    I’d love to take apart the code and hardware for some of these devices and prove, one way or another, that it’s more skill than luck.

    Also, on Pinball and gambling: when pinball was first pegged as gambling, it really WAS more like gambling than the pinballs that Sharpe called shots on in court in the 70’s. Way back in the day (when NY was deciding that pinballs were gambling devices) they had things like a button for ‘taking off games’ so that an operator could pay out for the games you won. They were pegged as gambling devices because they were USED as gambling devices. The challenge in the 70’s was successful not only because Sharpe demonstrated that they were a game of skill, but also because the manufacturers had long since stopped making them really usable for gambling.

    • MasterFygar May 15, 2011 at 12:46 pm - Reply

      Flamin Finger is, indeed, “rigged”. I got up to the end once with 20 seconds left and lost instantly at the finish. By the same token, Stacker actually has an option in the menu to set it up so hundreds of dollars must be inputted before it will let the last block land in the winning slot at all (actually, FF runs on the same system: this video shows the internal menu where you set how rigged it is). The difference I see here is that, at CEC, it’s been their policy for a long time that all ticket games give out at least one ticket. Sure, the jackpots are rigged, but technically if you put a token into a Flamin Finger and hope to get tickets, you’re still getting a ticket. Unfair, yes, but I think locations where one can actually win high-budget prizes (such as PS3s, Wiis, and iPads in some Flamin Finger standalone machines) with several hundred dollars in resale value and nothing at all unless the player completes the game should be more of a concern. If a kid wants a 15 ticket toy bug, they may play Flamin Finger 15 times and hope for more than they get, but they still get the bug (and the “jackpot” of 75 tickets or what have you has no cash value). If someone is pumping dollars into a machine at a different location and get NOTHING because the machine won’t let them get the prizes that will make them significant moolah unless they complete a task that has been set to be IMPOSSIBLE by the computer… yeah, that’s pretty dirty. It’s undeniable that these games cheat, and many of them blatantly paste “a game of skill” on the marquee and fool people: but CEC is NOT the biggest issue here, and this woman is obviously just after the money. I do think there should be some measures taken against blatant cheating from machines that only give out their AAA prizes after they make 800 bucks off of poor saps playing the games and still claim to be “skill based” (at some point, it really is like gambling, when people who know they’re going to get it eventually hope that maybe this time will be the time the payout counter maxes out and they get something they can resell for over a grand) but giving some woman who’s mad about tickets at a kid’s place 5 million big ones is not the solution.

  5. Brent Silby May 14, 2011 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    Where’s the personal responsibility in this world? If she doesn’t want her kids to play the games, then simply don’t let them! If she doesn’t agree with the games, then don’t play them. It’s a bit like walking into a casino, dropping a couple hundred dollars into slot machines, then suing because they didn’t pay out. Nuts!

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