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Author Topic: Is it legal to change a cabinet of a real arcade game and still charge quarters?  (Read 1612 times)

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Davidthepirate

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I have an old Mortal Kombat 3 cabinet. It has been damaged beyond all repair.  Instead of restoring it (and to save space) I would like to put the board in a custom built cabinet. I would like to place it in my shop, and I want to leave the coin mech operational.
My question is:
Can I legally set this up  (in a custom cab) for patrons? Does it change things just because it's not in the original cabinet?
« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 10:08:35 pm by Davidthepirate »

PL1

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I would like to put the board in a custom built cabinet. I would like to place it in my shop, and I want to leave the coin mech operational.
My question is:
Can I legally set this up  (in a custom cab) for patrons? Does it change things just because it's not in the original cabinet?
Welcome aboard, Davidthepirate.   ;D

A custom-built cab is not a problem.

Lots of cabs are conversions -- the cab doesn't match the game PCB.

The part that could be a problem is that it sounds like you aren't familiar yet with any relevant state/county/municipal regulations regarding licensing of public coin-operated amusement devices.

Several ways to find that inifo:
- Check public coin-op machines in your local area for license and operator stickers -- lack of sticker(s) does not mean they are not legally required.
- Ask the business owner where you found those coin-op machines -- they'll probably refer you to the route operator.
- Ask the route operator.
- If all else fails call the state/county/municipal Department of Revenue.


Scott

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pbj

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The PCB is the license.   :P

JDFan

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I would like to put the board in a custom built cabinet. I would like to place it in my shop, and I want to leave the coin mech operational.
My question is:
Can I legally set this up  (in a custom cab) for patrons? Does it change things just because it's not in the original cabinet?
Welcome aboard, Davidthepirate.   ;D

A custom-built cab is not a problem.

Lots of cabs are conversions -- the cab doesn't match the game PCB.

The part that could be a problem is that it sounds like you aren't familiar yet with any relevant state/county/municipal regulations regarding licensing of public coin-operated amusement devices.

Several ways to find that inifo:
- Check public coin-op machines in your local area for license and operator stickers -- lack of sticker(s) does not mean they are not legally required.
- Ask the business owner where you found those coin-op machines -- they'll probably refer you to the route operator.
- Ask the route operator.
- If all else fails call the state/county/municipal Department of Revenue.


Scott

^This - In order to place a machine for public use you need to follow all local/state/Federal laws and pay to have each machine and the location it is placed in licensed (in most areas each machine needs an annual license permit attached to the machine.)

pbj

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^This - In order to place a machine for public use you need to follow all local/state/Federal laws and pay to have each machine and the location it is placed in licensed (in most areas each machine needs an annual license permit attached to the machine.)

 :lol  Pfffft.  Okay.


Howard_Casto

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What??!!?? 

I guess "most places" are New York and California then.  ;)

pbj

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Typical talking out his ass ---That which is odiferous and causeth plants to grow--- that's plagued this hobby since day 1.  Guarantee his knowledge on the subject only extends to what similar uninformed knuckleheads have posted on some forum.




Davidthepirate

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Thanks for the quick responses. I'm glad to hear that I wouldn't have to keep the original cabinet or anything like that. I hadn't thought about the licensing and fees for operating a coin-op for the public, but that makes sense. Now that I think back, I do remember seeing sticker tags on arcade machines that stated they were up to date or something like that. I never knew what those were all about. I'll be checking with a guy who is local that rents some arcades for his skating rink. He should be able to seer me in the right direction.

pbj

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Your local guy is going to lie his ass off about the expenses to shake you out of competition.


Davidthepirate

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You are right. I should rely on facts instead of hearsay. People can say exactly what they want if it fits their agenda. That is why I went to the Florida Revenue website and found this. It explains the fees and rights associated with operating coin operated amusement machines.

floridarevenue.com/dor/forms/current/dr18.pdf

JDFan

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What??!!?? 

I guess "most places" are New York and California then.  ;)

And all of Texas (and most other states as well ) -- See attached


pbj

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You'll never recover that $30 fee.  Just slap it on location without any stickers and see how long you get away with it.  Take it home if you get a warning letter.  If, by some freak chance, you actually make more than $30 then go legit on the second round.




Mike A

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Illinois has laws too.

"While Lambert said he hasn't run into any zoning issues, Battaglia, despite initially protesting, pays the village of Algonquin a $120 licensing tax per game, per year. He operates 60 games. You do the math."

I have no specific knowledge as to how aggressively this is enforced, but the laws are there.

Howard_Casto

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Excuse me.... New York, California, and Chicago.  ;)

You see amusement devices, especially pinball, have long been associated with gambling, especially in the populous cities/states.  So their are a lot of archaic, un-enforceable laws still on the books of particular regions.  Unless there is a militant region I'm not aware of (which is entirely possible) I doubt anyone is going to give you any trouble.  Heck, aside from Chucky Cheese, Dave & Busters and your occasional hipster Barcade, finding a machine out in the wild is like finding a white rhino, so it'll be a miracle if you make any money anyway.   

I think if I were opening a full-fledged arcade I would be concerned, but otherwise have at it.  Hell I've seen those xxx-in-1 machines out in the wild and the board they run on is blatantly illegal. 

JDFan

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I think if I were opening a full-fledged arcade I would be concerned, but otherwise have at it.  Hell I've seen those xxx-in-1 machines out in the wild and the board they run on is blatantly illegal.

If you look at those xxx-in-1 machines in the wild you'll see they usually have the tax licenses right on the cab (at least in this area )  since the State is only concerned with getting the fee paid - (they leave the copyright enforcement to the copyright holder !) Sure you might not get caught if you don't pay - but if you do the fines add up ($50 - $2000 per day per machine in Texas) - and the OP asked about legality of using a PCB in a different cab so evidentally doesn't want to just take his chances !
« Last Edit: April 21, 2017, 04:24:55 pm by JDFan »

Davidthepirate

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I think if I were opening a full-fledged arcade I would be concerned, but otherwise have at it.  Hell I've seen those xxx-in-1 machines out in the wild and the board they run on is blatantly illegal.

That is my intent, to open an arcade of some sort. I have a few machines already, but I do want to have at least 20-25. I will definitely be paying the fees once it opens. I'm afraid that an arcade will definitely attract enough attention for someone to start asking all the right questions that could ultimately get me in trouble. I want to do it right the first time to avoid getting any negative pushback from the city, state, or government.

Also, those XX in 1 cabs, IMO, are disrespectful to everyone who was involved in the creating of the games it contains. I would never condone using those for profit.

Howard_Casto

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Yeah you need to be careful then.  The government is going to sniff out the potential money eventually.  Be more concerned about business licenses and stuff though.... they'll shut you down in a hurry if you aren't all set up in that area.  It sounds like you are already in business so I probably don't have to tell you this, but also pay attention to fire codes and permits for any remodeling, no matter how minor.  Remember 20-25 machines require a lot of outlets and if they aren't installed properly the fire marshal could shut you down. 

ark_ader

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Seriously?  Nobody give a crap.  Instead of asking for quarters, configure the metis use nickels.  I had one OP told me he had three arcade machines in a laundromat and made $200 a month.  I think he was stretching it a bit (more like $200 a year) but nobody will care. Police and the city have more pressing problems than your arcade machine. A concerned citizen with time on his hands...maybe.
"I really do feel pity for those who go out of their way to perform a personal slight, than taking the effort in joining the conversation and creating some useful dialogue which would benefit the persons' perusal of this topic.  Yet where would we be without the persistant antagonist?"

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A concerned citizen with time on his hands...maybe.
:laugh2:
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Howard_Casto

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Well "concerned citizen" in my experience translates to someone that is annoyed by all the kids/noise/ect of an arcade and wants to get your butt shut down.  It is a thing.  Like I said though it entirely depends upon if you are just throwing a cab in a quiet corner somewhere or opening a full-fledged arcade. 

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And definitely don't tell ark-the-narc where it is.
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SCking

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Block the coin mechs and, wire a switch behind the counter. Have people pay you, then click on credits.  If DOR (dept of revenue) comes in tell them it's on
"free play".  No Lic needed.


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Mike A

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That is great advice. Lie to the DOR. An entity that can yank your business license without due process. At least in Illinois you don't want to mess with them.

ark_ader

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And definitely don't tell ark-the-narc where it is.

 :lol

That is great advice. Lie to the DOR. An entity that can yank your business license without due process. At least in Illinois you don't want to mess with them.

Nobody gives a crap, seriously.  They do not have the money to search out rogue arcade operators, hiding 30 something year old arcade games.  Worst case scenario would be one of they guys from the DOR putting quarters to play the damn thing.  There again, that sounds like a cool job to apply for.  I mean I have experience.... :laugh2:
"I really do feel pity for those who go out of their way to perform a personal slight, than taking the effort in joining the conversation and creating some useful dialogue which would benefit the persons' perusal of this topic.  Yet where would we be without the persistant antagonist?"

Ken Layton

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I have an old Mortal Kombat 3 cabinet. It has been damaged beyond all repair.  Instead of restoring it (and to save space) I would like to put the board in a custom built cabinet. I would like to place it in my shop, and I want to leave the coin mech operational.
My question is:
Can I legally set this up  (in a custom cab) for patrons? Does it change things just because it's not in the original cabinet?

Route operators do this all the time. It's called conversion kits.

danny_galaga

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Licensing fees aside, in Australia it will need to be tested and tagged to show it is safe for public use. I imagine there might be a similar requirement in the states.


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