Maryland to Start Regulating Arcades Like They Do Casinos

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I think those unicorns are probably good to go.

Arcades in Maryland are about treated an awful lot more like casinos. In 2012, the General Assembly passed a bill that placed “skills-based amusement games and electronic gaming devices” under the regulatory oversight of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission, and the claw game may never be the same!

Under the new rules, all game machines in arcades would need to be registered. The commission says the majority of those machines may be registered for free. But when it comes to games — like the claw — that offer prizes worth more than $30 wholesale, in comes a $50 licensing fee as well as quarterly requirements to test the machines and document their locations.

If you find it hard to believe that any prize in those claw games is worth more $30, then you haven’t been to Ocean City in a while. Sportland, on the boardwalk, gives customers a chance at grabbing GoPro cameras, iPod Nanos, Beats headphones, and the like.

Arcade owners have complained that the requirements are unduly burdensome. And that may be so. Regulatory bodies occasionally appear to act without an understanding of the practicality of businesses meeting new requirements. On the other hand, I’d sure love the commission to find out how often anyone actually wins one of those claw games.

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