Law Banning Pinball Shuts Down Retro Arcade

Tom Goldman

Crying on the inside.
Aug 17, 2009
Law Banning Pinball Shuts Down Retro Arcade

An ancient pinball ban was actually enforced in the town of Beacon, New York, shutting down a local business.

Fred Bobrow's Retro Arcade Museum [] in Beacon, New York seems like an awesome place. He's got hundreds of pinball and arcade games that date back to as early as the 1950s, from Pong to Frogger, on display and on free play (assuming you've rented the place). It's so cool in fact, that's it's been completely shut down due to a law in Beacon that bans pinball arcades. What year is it again?

Bobrow told CNN []: "It turns out that they were able to prevent me from operating by enforcing an arcane law that bans pinball arcades in the town of Beacon. The fine is $1,000 a day, or jail."

The Retro Arcade Museum was shut down by a bunch of squares after being open for only 18 months. The pings, pongs, and squeals of delight must have really annoyed someone on the Beacon City Council. The law, like other well documented bans on pinball over the years, came about because lawmakers at one point thought pinball was run by the mafia, encouraged gambling, corrupted innocent youth, and attracted a bad element (i.e. people that enjoy fun).

Despite some local officials saying that Bobrow's museum is a "good fit" with Beacon, and that it could even be a tourist attraction, the Beacon City Council is dragging their heels to change the pinball law. It's been under discussion for over two months. Beacon's mayor explains: "The legislative process really does take its time ... It's a process that really can't be done very quickly because we want to do it right rather than right away." Somebody must have forgotten to tell him that they're discussing a law banning pinball, for goodness sake.

If officials take too much longer, Bobrow could be in trouble. "The town is on their own timeline that doesn't coincide with business," he says. "In business, you have the be open everyday."

Let's hope the city council is able to see that the banning of metal balls hit with flippers for fun is completely moronic. Bobrow's outfit isn't even the type that attracts a seedy crowd, it's well maintained and more of a museum on free play. Sorry everyone, this situation combined with the outrage over Marvel Happy Meals [] has made me decide to find a new planet to live on. I'll miss you all.

Source: GI []



New member
Jan 11, 2009
Wow. No words can truly express my opinion.

Shouldn't the justice system be trying to prevent crime instead of stupid things like these?


Je suis joined jewels.
Jan 19, 2009
"Everybody Cut Footloose", anybody?

I don't think you can blame this on religious figures, even, only on human silliness.


New member
Jun 4, 2008
*grabs pitchfork* REVOLUTION!
OT: No wonder our country is so messed up right now. Instead of focusing on the important stuff they're wasting all their time on these ridiculous ancient laws that don't even make any sense.


Spice & Wolf Restored!
Feb 19, 2009
Remind me why I put up with politics again.

I freakin' LOVE pinball! This law is fucking retarded.


New member
Aug 19, 2008
[Old, white bureaucrat]

"What's this? A place of joy and fun, and with machines that have metal ball-bearings and lights and sounds and bumpers? And it's bringing in tourism and business during this economic crisis? BANISH THEM!!!

"Now, where is my cake made of gold?"


Burn, Burn it All!
Aug 8, 2009
Over two months to decide on whether ban a game, and for a completely arbitrary reason. A really sad thing is I think that the law might pass. Oh why is it that the silliest laws are almost always passed?


New member
Jul 4, 2008
I hate my State, I hate it so much.

Just a few days ago, a friend of mine mentioned that in our town, there's an unenforced (though still on the books) law in which a man can be fined for not keeping the collar of his shirt neat while in public. Do I have to worry about that now too?

It's only a 20 minute ride from here to Beacon, I feel like I should be driving there right now to protest or something.

JRCB said:
Shouldn't the justice system be trying to prevent crime instead of stupid things like these?
This is New York we're talking about, these shinananigans plague our legal system like STDs among Eliot Spitzer's ring of hookers.

Basically, the government can get you in trouble for just about anything, anytime they want, it all depends on if someone high-up in the system likes you or not.


New member
Jul 11, 2008
Frozen Donkey Wheel2 said:
I'm pretty sure there's another that prevents abuse of stupid laws like that.

But don't quote me on that.
Quoted. (sorry!)

Really tho, if there isn't there should be. Some massive fine for anyone who twists a current or centuries old law completely out of context just to push their own agenda or screw someone over.

It's like the 'anti terrorism' law banning anyone from photographing a police officer in the UK. Surely the law is broken millions of times a day by the 30 million or so CCTVs in operation around the country. I don't see any owners of CCTV equipment being dragged off however, seems it's more when there's a protest and they need an extra reason to arrest people, because everyone's behaving peacefully but being mildly irritating.

Note I'm very much in favour of the police, they have to do a crappy job, dealing with idiots and lunatics daily, very well. I'm just not in favour of stupid laws and them being forced to uphold them.


New member
Mar 22, 2010
Someone needs to get a contact email/website/address where we can mail the town council; this is absolutely ridiculous and these political fools have basically ruined a man's life because of an arcane and idiotic law.


The Stormbringer
Dec 1, 2009
I feel really sorry for this guy. This is his career and financial security at stake. Also, old school arcades are extremely hard to come by. Normal arcades are extremely hard to come by (where I live).

This is a sad day indeed. :(


New member
Jul 28, 2010
And all because of the high correlation between people playing pinball and then getting their kneecaps busted because they forgot to pay the bookie at the tracks last weekend.

I hope at the trial someone lets the question slip "And what exactly is local level of drug related crime?" Go bust somebody who's actually infringing on somebody's rights.