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Ohio Coin Machine Association Sues State Over COVID-19 Restrictions

The Ohio Coin Machine Association—a trade organization representing pinball, arcade, and jukebox operators—has filed suit against Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s administration over COVID-19 restrictions that prevent patrons from using the aforementioned coin-operated machines in restaurants, bars, and bowling alleys.

Filed Thursday, the lawsuit accuses the Ohio Department of Public Health of overstepping its bounds in forbidding the use of coin-operated machines, under threat of criminal and civil reprisals, as part of its “Responsible RestartOhio” order.

The lawsuit asserts that there is “minimal safety risk” for the age group that most often patronizes these locations. It’s stated that the use of coin-operated machines can be “conducted in a manner that complies with spacing standards and sanitation standards.”

“Over 55 percent of the coronavirus deaths in Ohio are reported to have occurred in nursing homes,” the suit claims. “Few people between the ages of 70 to 80, or who are bound to nursing homes, are found frequenting bars and bowling alleys. Fewer still are going to bars and playing billiards, pinball games, video games, or arcade games.”

Shaffer Amusement Pool League (Kettering, Ohio)

Exempted from the restrictions are the State Lottery Kiosk machines often found alongside pinball, arcade games, and jukeboxes in the very same venues. The suit notes that patrons operate Lottery Kiosk machines in “much the same manner,” making for an inconsistency in governance.

Describing the health department’s actions as “unlawful” and “concerted,” the coin machine operators believe it falls within their “constitutional rights” to utilize their property with safety measures in place.

Previous reporting by contained statements from Orville Reed, an attorney representing these Ohio companies.

“We think our case is righteous. We’re meritorious,” Reed said. “We’re not looking for sympathy. We’re looking for a court that will listen to arguments and do the right thing. That’s why we’re in Lake County.”

The 20 businesses represented in the suit included Shaffer Services, Cadillac Music Corporation, and Pioneer Services, among others.


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