Law director suggests repealing games law

It would be simpler to leave enforcement to the state, the law director said.



NEWTON FALLS — Village Law Director Richard Schwartz suggested council repeal a nearly 40-year-old city ordinance and leave the city’s “games of amusement” laws up to the state.

He said the state gambling statutes are more clearly defined and established than the village’s ordinance.

The current ordinance prohibits giving a “prize, award, merchandise, gift, or anything of value to any player or operator of any mechanical amusement device or to any contestant for a high score.”

Tony Peters plans to open a facility with 30 Tic-Tac-Fruit machines on Milton Boulevard and hopes council will clear up its ordinance in the near future.

Peters claims the ordinance would unfairly charge him a fee for his machines, while leaving other machines, such as pinball machines and claw games, fee-free.

“If my little girl plays the claw game and gets a prize, we’d be lawbreakers under the current ordinance,” Peters said.

If his machines are outlawed under the current ordinance, Peters said it would be a “major injustice.”

Follow state statutes

At Monday’s council meeting, Schwartz suggested that council repeal the current ordinance and follow state gambling statutes regarding games of skill versus games of chance, specifically, the Tic-Tac-Fruit devices.

He said the state statues are more accurate than the “very broad” definitions in the city ordinance.

“Unless we want to start enforcing these fees and inspecting the machines ourselves, we should probably leave it up to the state,” said Schwartz.

He also noted a third option could be modifying the current ordinance to be more sensible.

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