Phoenix, AZ – They're called coin pushers. You put in a coin and it operates a
pusher arm that moves that coin and all the ones already in the
machine slightly foward. The idea is that, at some point, the
coins reach crucial mass and the latest addition will send some
spilling out the front. On Wednesday state Gaming Director Mark
Brnovich said his office seized dozens of these from bars,
convenience stores and other locations as illegal gaming devices.
But he's not blaming the shop owners.
(Someone is basically going around and pitching these to store
owners, convenience store owners, bar owners, small shops telling
them that there's no problem, they're legal. And the store owners
are taking the person's word on it to go ahead and installing
them and using them to make profit.)
Brnovich said state law does allow amusement devices where you
can win things. But what he called the Chuck E. Cheese exception
doesn't allow cash to be awarded. And merchandize prizes have to
be kept to less than $4. What's worse, he said, is these machines
were ripping people off.
(It appears that these devices were not only illegal but that
many patrons didn't even have a chance to win the prizes that
That's because the machines have hidden compartments, which means
some of the coins pushed over the ledge never actually made it
into the hopper for the customer to retrieve. For Arizona Public
Radio this is Howard Fischer.