Wildwood, NJ, Boardwalk Game Operator Fined For Cheating Players
An operator of amusement games along the boardwalk in Wildwood and North Wildwood is banned from holding a game license for 10 years and must pay $15,000 for cheating players, New Jersey officials have announced.
According to Attorney General Matthew Platkin, unscrupulous practices were uncovered at a number of games run by Christine Strothers in the summer of 2022.
Strothers had received seven Amusement Game Licenses in the spring of 2022 to operate basketball and football challenge games at several spots along the 2.5-mile boardwalk.
Several basketballs used for the games were inflated to more than the manufacturer's specifications, some by almost three times the recommended inflation, officials said, based on investigations over the summer.
Operators are required to follow the recommended inflation specifications, as failure to do so can unfairly affect a player's chances of winning. An overinflated ball can bounce erratically when it hits the rim or backboard, the Attorney General's Office noted.
Strothers also violated regulations related to the display of prizes, officials said. At one of the locations operated by Strothers, large plus animals on display weren't even up for grabs. In one instance, the game operator didn't show any prizes that could be won.
At one point, officials said, an investigator paid $20 for a quarterback challenge game that cost $10, and "was not immediately given change."
"Every person who plays an amusement game in the state of New Jersey deserves a fair shot at winning a prize," Platkin said. "The Jersey Shore is one of the biggest draws in the state for families looking for fun and recreation and we are making sure those families are not being scammed out of their hard-earned money."
Every one of New Jersey's amusement game licensees are visited by a state investigator at least once per year. In 2022, Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission investigators conducted 7,000 inspections, resulting in approximately $35,000 in penalties and violations.