Before families test their luck at boardwalk games, state inspectors will be checking to make sure everything is on the "up and up" as part of the Safe Summer 2014 campaign.


(Ewa Mazur, ThinkStock)

State and Ocean County Consumer Affairs investigators were in Point Pleasant Tuesday, checking merchants for compliance with pricing and refund disclosure under the law.

Members of the Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission inspected arcade games for fairness of play and to make sure players have a legitimate chance of winning. Investigators will visit boardwalks across the shore this summer checking to make sure all signage for rules, prices, and prizes is displayed as well as individual games followed the rules assigned to them.

"With the basketball game, the regulation would be that it can't be more than 10 feet high.  There's other games like water race games that are on the boardwalk that you have to pop a balloon, you have to make sure the darts on the balloon are sharp, they also have fins on them in good working condition. If they're not, it's a problem. There are also cork gun games where they sometime adjust the regulation of the air pressure, which actually can't knock off the prize," said Joseph Chessere, investigator with the LGCCC.

In addition to ensuring compliance for rules, pricing and returns, agents were checking toys and prizes for excessive amounts of lead.

"If we are finding items that are non-compliant then we are making sure that they are set aside and we're making sure businesses are warned. We'll be coming back next summer to make sure those warnings have been heeded," said Acting Consumer Affairs Director Steve Lee.

Chessere added that all games must be capped at a $10 per play, anything more is against the law.

During Tuesday's sweep, any violators were given only warnings, however fines for serious infractions can be steep. However Chessere said while the games might not be easy, very few merchants try to scam customers.

"If you're going to cheat the consumer, they're not going to come back. Because of the situation [boardwalk businesses] are in financially, because they're trying to rebuild, that they do the right thing."

If customers suspect a boardwalk game could be trying to scam them, they should contact the Division of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-242-5846. The LGCCC can be reached at 973-273-8000.

For anyone looking for a game with a good chance of winning, Chessere recommends dart games in which players attempt to pop ballones. Otherwise, he suggests going where you see people have been winning.

To prevent losing a lot of money on any game, Chessere said knowing what you have to do is vital.

"If you don't understand the game and you don't understand the rules, we always instruct the players not to play unless they want to ask the operator to explain it," he said.