Created on 04-29-2014
The text below references a “600 free games on a single replay” and mentions that “In the city of Seattle alone, pinball machines have amounted to a 20-25 muillion dollar a year business” and this was written in 1964!!
2A- ThÂ« Daily Chronicle, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 1964 What REFERENDUM No. 34 SAYS, DOES NOT SAY and MAY OR MAY NOT MEAN. The legislation embodied in Referendum Noi 34 creates confusion, either as the deliberate result of careful drafting or because of remarkably poor drafting. Each section of this legislation is individually analyzed below: SECTION 1 None of the previous statutes on gambling are specifically amended or repealed ^ new provisions are simply added to the existing jaw. However, the new language, ''notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter . . ." effectively nullifies the application of the past law in the areas covered by the new so that the new law does have the actual effect of amending the existing law rather than merely adding to iti Section V makes pinball machines lawful if they are locally licensed (the so- called "local option" principle by an incorporated city or town or, if the machines are in an unincorporated area, by the county/This section specifies that the machines cannot have automatic payoff mechanisms so that winners cannot be paid cash directly by the machines, but it does provide for the automatic registering and playing of fr.ee games won. No distinction is made be, tween amusement-type pinball machines and the gambling type into which coins can be fed to run up a potential winning of 600 free games on a single replay. This coin-feeding feature of the gambling pinball machines, through which the player seeks to build up his chances for making a big win on a tingle play, has made the pinball machine a more lucrative gambling device for the operators than' the slot machine. In the City of Seattle' alone under .limited "tolerance" conditions, pinball machines have amounted to a 20-25 million dollar a year business. Under legalization with the bait of wide-open cash payoffs, this volume would bÂ« multiplied many time*. An important probable effect of this section would be to render the federal Â· statutes prohibiting interstate shipment of gambling pinball machines inapplicable to Washington because the federal low exempts shipments into ' Â·tales in which Ihe machines are authorized by slate law, ' . ' . . . ' SECTION 2 This is the section .which might authorize cash payoffs on pinball machines. The possibility lies in the language making It lawful to transfer manually free games or plays from one machine to another at the 'same location. It does v not say how the transfer of games is to be made; so it could even be legal to pay a player in coins by which he is supposed to play out his games on other machines. Such an interpretation is within reason and might well prevail especially where a local jurisdiction has specifically applied that interpretation by ordinance. Further, even if it were construed that cash payoffs by the game-transfer subterfuge were not lawful, an impossible law enforcement situation would be created because this section does not say when the transfer must be completed. Winners could "save" their free games and cash them in later-when safe from possible detection, Â·' ' . ' A second deficiency of Section 2 is the fact that it starts off by making it, a crime for a player lo receive any payment (possibly subject to the evasion discussed above) but does not make it a crime for an. operator to make the payment, thereby keeping the operator and his: machine free from penalty and.the enforcement action of Ihe police. Â· " ' Â· ' ' If must be recognized that the gimmick which makes It's possible for a pinball machine without an automatic payoff mechanism to perform os a true commercial gambling device is the installation of the' mechanism to "knock-off"" the free game* registered ai won by a player. WmSoutjMt knock-off device, cash payoff - legal or illegal - could not bÂ« mad* b*cauiÂ« thÂ« mochiTM would be open for free play by anyone until the won garnet wÂ»rÂ« used up. That is why it it vital to commercial-gambling interest that the gambling operator be able to knock off the games won by a player. In this' case, the reason given for incorporating this feature in the pinball machines is to make it possible to transfer free games from one machine to another. SECTION 3 Section 3 legalizes, under local option, "any salesboard or sales ticket intended for trade stimulation purposes where merchandise only is dispensed.* Apparently this provision is intended to cover^ punchboards and pull tabs, whose interstate transportation is prohibited by federal law unless they are legal in the stale into which they ore being shipped. Al the time Senate Bill 360 was being considered by' the Legislature, U,S: Attorney Brock Adams pointed .but that this section. might well render the federal statutes regulating these devices inapplicable to. Washington. .' SECTION 4 While referring to card rooms, this section fails to limit the "games of skill" permitted within - cord rooms to card games. Consequently, any type of gambling device which involves a degree of skill on the part of the player would appear to be legal. Section 4 apparently opens the door to the licensing of commercial gambling dens-with virtually no restrictions as long as they have no more lhan eight card tables. SECTION 5 This Section approves virtually any type of device for games of chance when it makes lawful ". . . any devices commonly used as trade stimulants at county or state fairs . . ." as long as the devices are used for the benefit of charitable, etc., organizations and the revenues are ". . .not to inure.to the profit of any individual . . .". This limitation is made broad to the point' of practical meaninglessness when it goes so far as to include ". . . other non-profit organizations . . ." among the- many types of organizations which may operate the devices. A non-profit front organization is the typical cover for commercial gambling businesses which operate for the "benefit" of worthy causes after first deducting amazingly high operating costs, salaries, etc. The requirement thai 15 days written notice of. games authorized under thin section be provided governing bodies would bury many city' councils under a blanket of notices and leave them lime for nothing else should they choose lo pay, a n y attention to Iheni. . . . . , , ' . . . . SECTION 6 This section provides the mechcinics for the State Director of Licenses to maintain a record of the gambling licenses issued by local governments. Restrictions concerning moral character and residence requirements of licensees are not unusual and are easily circumvented by commercial gambler who operate through front organizations listing respectable citizens on the licenses who, however, have no control of the organization, SECTION 7 , i . . -. . Â· Â· . /'* Â· Â· . . ' ' .. This section sets forth a "grandfather" clause but was vetoed by the Governor, SECTION 8 - - Â· ' Â· ; - - , Â· , j Â· . Â· This is the standard wverability clause included in virtually all legislation. SECTION 9 This was the emergency clause Invalidated by the State Supreme Court. ~