Chuck E. Cheese Gambling Sparks Controversy In Florida

Chuck E. Cheese continues to allow gambling machines in its Florida-based restaurants despite new legislation.

A law passed last month effectively pulled the plug on gambling machines in establishments all across the state. Many businesses were forced to permanently close up shop as a result. Continuing to operate would have resulted in hefty fines and penalties.

However, restaurants such as Chuck E. Cheese and David & Buster’s continue to allow kids and adults to try their luck at a number of gambling machines. Many Florida business owners don’t understand why these companies are allowed to skirt the law.

The Miami Herald reports that Jennifer Morejon was ordered to dismantle around 100 machines in her arcade for the elderly after the law was passed. Since Chuck E. Cheese and other restaurants continue to allow gambling machines, she feels authorities are simply discriminating against certain types of businesses.

“How can the machines be bad for my customers, who are adults spending their own money, but not for kids? This is something you expect in a country like Cuba, not the United States,” she explained.

While some businesses have been forced to close their doors, entertainment-based restaurants continue to operate these machines without punishment. Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez explained that he wasn’t interested in arresting Chuck E. Cheese in front of a group of children.

“If the governor and the Legislature want that, they can come and do it themselves,” he added.

Dave & Buster’s marketing vice president April Spearman believes the new legislation doesn’t include “restaurant and entertainment companies.” However, she added that the company was willing to work with law enforcement officials in an effort to “understand the new law and ensure we are in full compliance.”

It’s currently unclear what actions Florida officials intend to take against these companies.

Do you think Chuck E. Cheese and other entertainment-based restaurants should be allowed to carry gambling machines?

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