Chuck E. Cheese: A Gambling Gateway Restaurant?

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They say Chuck E. Cheese is where a kid can be a kid. But if you’re Debbie Keller, it’s a place where a kid might develop a gambling problem.

Keller, a mother of a three-year-old and a five-year-old, is suing the popular arcade-style restaurant for promoting gambling addictions in children. She believes that many of the restaurant’s games aimed at children are actually illegal gambling devices and is therefore seeking $5 million. Keller’s attorney, Eric Binink, told the San Diego Union Tribune that the lawsuit’s real purpose is to prevent the company from keeping the machines in its game rooms. “We don’t think that children should be exposed to casino-style gambling devices at an arcade,” Benink said, adding that the games take only a few seconds to play and some of them feature a roulette-style wheel.

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Chuck E. Cheese lawyers are asking for the lawsuit to be thrown out on the grounds that the games are legal and the California legislature never intended to make operating a children’s arcade game a criminal act. But even if the games were illegal, Keller then would qualify as an admitted participant in illegal gambling and not be able to seek damages.

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