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August 2013

Jack GuarnieriJ
by Jack Guarnieri
ersey Jack

Jury Remains Out in Florida

So much has been said and written about the redemption laws in Florida and California and several other states recently. Last month’s issue of RePlay was one of the best I have ever read since 1975, and I have every issue. The magazine had hard-hitting, real information that everyone who operates redemption and crane games needed to get.

What everyone did with it is something else. Frankly, I have not been in Florida or California in the last month to see how the operators there are complying with the laws, but then again, that’s not my job.

Taking advantage of a law or situation or some falsehood in an imagined loophole is always of interest to those so motivated. There are many ways to get around something, and in every industry, people are motivated, usually by money, to skip something here or there or to ignore a rule or a law here or there.

I know people who still believe that it’s acceptable to use music without a license or royalty. It’s not acceptable, and the fact that people may think it’s okay doesn’t mean it complies with the law.

Let’s face it –– none of us are perfect. We all do what we need or do first, and then turn to others’ priorities second. Putting prizes at a redemption center for children is different than adults playing for prizes at a senior arcade. Or is it?

The lawsuits filed so far seem to make the redemption waters in Florida as dangerous as the Everglades. Who knows how it will turn out, but in the meantime the lawyers score points because someone has to pay them on both sides.

It may be better to err on the side of the law and take a hit in the cash box until this is sorted out than to be found in violation of the law and therefore subject to penalty.

It seems that everyone is talking about these issues, but who in our industry is doing something about it? Sounds like the weather, but in this case we have local and national associations that need to be on the front of this to tell our industry’s side of things.

All we seem to be reading about lately are lawsuits that could hurt our industry. However, one thing that has proven to be true –– you never know what the court system will decide in Florida.

The jury remains out on how this story will eventually play out for our industry.

Jack Guarnieri started servicing electro-mechanical pinball machines in 1975 and has been involved in every phase of the amusement game business since then. He operated a substantial game route in Brooklyn, N.Y., and developed amusement centers including Fuzzy’s Family Fun Factory. In 1999, he founded Pinball-Sales.com to sell coin-op to the home market. Last year, Jack founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which is designing and developing full-featured, full-sized commercial-arcade pinball machines for manufacture in early 2012. The first game is based on a licensed theme, the timeless The Wizard of Oz. To learn more, visit www.jerseyjackpinball.com. You can email him at jack@jerseyjackpinball.com or by phoning him directly at 800/473-JACK.

To send email to RePlay Magazine, it's editor@replaymag.com

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