Arcades’ Shady Past Ruins Retro Pinball MuseumBy Jared Newman
Beacon, N.Y., might be a lovely city, but it still deserves a mark of shame for shutting down a retro pinball and video game arcade. CNN tells the story of Retro Arcade Museum, which Fred Bobrow operated for 18 months before the fuzz forced him out. At issue is a decades-old law that prohibits pinball machines in the city. Facing fines of $1,000 per day, or jail time, Bobrow’s only choice was to close the arcade.
Beacon wasn’t alone in banning video game arcades. Between the 1940s and the 1970s, most major U.S. cities outlawed these places, because lawmakers believed they were mob rackets and wastes of time. And while most cities have either repealed those laws or looked the other way, Beacon has the unpleasant distinction of actually enforcing a law that no longer makes any sense.
The city is now thinking of changing the law, but as Mayor Steve Gold explained, the legislative process takes time, and he wants the law done “right, rather than right away.” Of course, working on a government timetable won’t save Bobrow’s business, and good luck getting another arcade to open up in Beacon after this fiasco. I hope he can make the idea work in another city, and generate all kinds of tax revenue for them. [CNN via Game Politics]