Skip to comments.San Diego Mother Sues Chuck E. Cheese, Equating Kids' Games With Gambling Machines
Posted on 05/13/2011 12:27:10 PM PDT by massmike
A San Diego mother is suing Chuck E. Cheese, the favorite pizza chain of kids across the nation, accusing the restaurant of illegal gambling. Denise Keller, mother of two daughters, says Chuck E. Cheese has replaced its traditional games of skee-ball and whack-a-mole with machines that resemble slot machines, Capitol Weekly reported. The lawsuit says that many games found at Chuck E. Cheeses restaurants are illegal gambling devices that require little or no skill and are predominantly games of chance, much like a roulette wheel, according to the paper. Kellers attorney, Eric Benink, said the games have flashing lights and bright colors just like slot machines. "There was no fun involved in the game other than an opportunity to win a prize," he told Capitol Weekly. Its just pure random luck in terms of spinning out a result. That, we believe, is a slot machine, as California penal code spells out.
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I agree with her... but it’s stupid to sue. Just don’t go. We don’t.
If it puts CEC out of business, that would be a good thing. Places are nothing but germ factories.
Kellers attorney, Eric Benink, should be shot, or at least disbarred and forced to work at Chuck E. Cheese for minimum wage.
The machines do not spit out money when the kids win. They spit out Chuck E. Cheese tokens that can only be used in their stores.
There’s no reason to say this is gambling.
Then don’t take them there. There are plenty of real pizza places out there to take them to.
Chuckies has terrible pizza and always has. A founder of a video game company back in the 80s was forthright about it. They started Chuck E Cheese as a way to draw kids into playing their video games; the pizza was crap but that was not the point of the place.
Most states have specific exemptions from gambling statutes for the type of ticket/prise operation Chuck-e’s runs.
The rides are usually kiddie type rides. The show is the animatronic video presentation.
The "games" will vary from store to store. Games that give out tickets are called redemption games. There are games that don't give out tickets...these of course are non-redemption games.
Each store has a mix of redemption and non-redemption games. The redemption games vary widely. Some give a fixed number of tickets and do have a high element of skill. Some give a variable number of tickets and have a high element of skill. Some give a fixed or variable number of tickets and don't require much skill. On some games the payouts are programmable. On others they're not.
The "payout" is paper tickets that can be redeemed for prizes. Or you can purchase prizes straight up...or a combo.
I would say that the person suing is looking to make a buck off Chuck....
I take exception to that. Anyplace that kids congregate is going to be a "germ factory". I would bet that the cleanliness of a typical Chuck E. Cheese store is thousands, if not millions, of times higher than the cleanliness of a typical classroom or lunchroom at a school.
So let's shut down schools, pre-schools and church nursery too because they're all "germ factories".
I'd say that's a safe "bet"!
Under what theory of law does this woman have an actionable complaint here?
Is this going to be dismissed in a summary judgement for the defendant?
It's not that bad. Dough is made daily. Ingredients are fresh. We get our produce from a farm that delivers weekly. It's more of a perception issue. Nonetheless Chuck E. Cheese has started a new pizza recipe/baking process that is being rolled out to stores in order to combat the perception.
Ms. Keller should sue the state of California for allowing her daughters (3 and 5 yrs) to 1) have jobs to earn money to spend at CEC and 2) to have a license to drive to CEC. Oh wait...
I have often made the gambling comparison....half jokingly. Some of the games of chance are ‘progressive’, which means the payout gets larger each time a player loses.
This is exactly the same concept used in many casino games of chance.
No it’s that bad. The dough is gummie, the cheese is in name alone, fresh bad ingredients don’t make good pizza.
Well, as far as cleanliness, I know from experience that the plastic balls the kids play in always smells like urine. I’m sure they try to clean up and keep it that way, but dealing with so many kids in and out all day, I’m sure it’s a losing battle.
To each their own. The new pizza is 100% real mozzarella. The new crust has been reformulated and will be cooked on screens instead of pans so the "gummy", if that's your perception, is gone. The dough is mixed and rolled out daily and I have the machines to prove it!
Chuck E. Cheese isn't gourmet pizza by any means but it's also not the main draw of a typical Chuck E. Cheese store either.
When was the last time you were in a store? I don't think there are any of those plastic ball things at any Chuck E. Cheese store and haven't been for at least maybe 5 to 10 years though I'm not sure of the exact time frame.
Notice the first two improvements you mention go straight at the problems I mentioned, and those criticisms weren’t just my perception, they were pretty well known as the CEC problem. Making the gummy crust a real crust and replacing that horrid fake cheese with 100% real mozzarella. It’s good that they’re catching up with the improved American pallet, now if only Peter Piper and Little Caesars (the mass market pizzas that kept CEC from being the worst) would do the same.
Why wouldn’t CEC just outsource the pizza making to Dominoes or another pizza maker?
Short answer? I'm guessing it's because making and selling pizza is much more profitable than outsourcing it. Plus if it were outsourced it wouldn't be as fresh.
And about perceptions: Have you seen the new Dominoes commercials? I'm not sure how much their pizza has really changed but the focus of the commercials are to change perceptions.
Don’t want to be reliant on somebody else. Look at the mess that’s happened with some of the cable/ dish company vs network disputes lately. If you think it’s annoying for a cable company to lose ABC think of how much worse it would be for an ostensibly pizza place to lose their pizzas. What surprises me is that so many of them are dry, if you’re going to expect adults to hang out in a room full of overstimulated kids you need to give them beer. Frankly the first round should be complimentary.
Dominoes pizza changed a lot. It was most noticeable for me in their mushrooms, old Dominoes had arguably the worst mushrooms ever put on a pizza by anybody, now they’re actually good. Dominoes pizza as a whole went from basically acceptable to actually good. Still not great, but you know longer feel sullied.
You go to a kids place and expect gourmet pizza? When you can hardly get the kids to sit down long enough to eat in the first place?
Back in the days when my younguns went to Chuck E. Cheese I explained to them Chuck E. Cheese math. I calculated the actual cost to win a prize and compared it an estimated street value for the prize. I got a 10/1 ratio.
The pizza also tasted like cardboard.
The kids did have fun at the place, and I do have fond memories of taking them to it. I guess someday I will be taking my grandkids as well.
Chuck E. Cheese math is still cheaper than teenage math.
I do hope you improve the pizza when I come back in 10 to 20 years or so.
*****Chuckies has terrible pizza and always has. ******
Sigh, I miss SHAKEY’S PIZZA!
No. Sue for the insipid animated Mouse show.
>Well, as far as cleanliness, I know from experience that the plastic balls the kids play in always smells like urine<
No, that would be McDonald’s. My niece almost slid on the slide to a pool of piss, it was friggin disgusting.
That’s some info, thanks. You sure there are any “comps” from the branch manager if the kids return? (j/k)
I always thought Pizza Hut was the worst of the major pizza chains. It’s really gross.
Ditto that one, mate! Shakey’s, back in the ‘70s, had excellent pizza.
The bottom line is that CEC should be able to run its business the way it sees fit. I don’t go there for pizza, I go there when I want to give kids a treat (their perception, not mine) AND get them fed.
It's not that bad.
It's not as bad as I thought it would be or heard it was. I figured that being a kids place, the pizza sauce would be ridiculously sweet. It's not bad though, and actually has a slight "tang" to it.
Ridiculously expensive, though. Almost 10 bucks for a small cheese pizza.
They went downhill when they started messing with the crust. Now that Dominoes has fixed their stuff PH is pretty close to the bottom. Little Caesars actually improves with age, pretty darn good next day which puts them better than PH (which never improves).
We have a Chuck E. Cheese in our town, and we went ONCE. Migraines while 9 months pregnant suck! LOL We were living in a hotel after moving to town and wanted to celebrate our son’s 5th birthday. The kids loved it...Mom and Dad, not so much.
That being said, there is a place here in town that was opened in the last couple of years by a couple from our parish (their son is a classmate of our oldest daughter). It is a pizza buffet type place w/the games and tickets that are redeemable for prizes. The place is clean, well-run, the food is reasonably priced and pretty tasty, and is set up in a manner that adults can enjoy a pizza out front w/o hearing the screaming kids if they want. They even have live entertainment on certain nights. The place is packed any day of the week I pass by it. It’s one of the most popular places for birthday parties in town.
That's a great business. Chuck E. Cheese's really has no national competition and hardly any local competition. I would open up a similar place in a heartbeat if I had the capital.
You know, I never really noticed that about Chuck E. Cheese not having any competition until you mentioned it. I think that is why the pizza place owned by my daughter’s friend’s parents is such a hit. They have (mostly) private party rooms that can be used as general dining if there are no parties booked. They have the big-screen TV for sports. It’s really a win-win for the owners and the community. It would be a great business to own.
And that's the bottom line...it's a treat for kids. That's what the whole deal is geared to. The target consumers are kids 2 to 8. And kids do have a blast.
I like Chuck E. Cheese. I like the pizza and the carnival games. I just don’t like some of the other customers, and don’t like it when it’s too crowded. Years ago, CEC was dark inside and the pizza was orange. Then the pizza got better and they put in fun, but unsanitary, ball pits and climbing apparatus. Now all that’s gone and the lighting is better. For me, if the clientele improved, it would be a good thing. But I live in LA and the crass people are ubiquitous. Not CEC’s fault, really. I think CEC generally tries to run a decent family place and there is no other big chain that does quite the same thing. Chuck E. is ok with me.
I agree...the quality of the customer is directly dependent on location. People will drive to our store in a smaller town rather then go to stores that are closer to an urban area because of the people issue.
BTW the BEST time to go to a CEC is a weekday morning. Second best time is a Sunday morning. Third best is a weekday afternoon. Fourth best is a weeknight during the school year. EVERYONE goes on Friday and Saturday nights. Everyone goes on spring break too.
I agree, just don’t go there. We have a 5 year old who (up until this year) was not even aware CEC existed. He still hasn’t gone there though!
It's a great place to work. Not a lot of money, but free meals and the pleasure of seeing happy people all day. General Managers can do very well with bonuses and what not if they run a good store. For managers the turn over ratio is relatively low compared to other restaurants or retail businesses.
This may explain all the adults fighting with each other and the children over the machines and Chuck E Cheese in the cities.