Pinball Decriminalization Finally Comes to Oakland, CA


When pinball is outlawed, only outlaws will play pinball.

Pinball, the ever-present scourge of the youth, has ravaged the nation. The game steals from the “pockets of school children in the form of nickels and dimes given them as lunch money,” as New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia famously told the Supreme Court. For all these years, the city of Oakland, California has stood as a bastion of sanity in a corrupt land. Now, with the moral fiber of the nation unraveling at the seams, Oakland has finally decided to end its 80 year ban on pinball.

While the law hasn’t been enforced since the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor, similar laws are still in full effect around the nation. Beacon, NY shut down a pinball museum back in 2010 because it violated an ancient rule. San Francisco still requires that pinball owners have a permit from the entertainment commission, because you need to have permission before having fun.

Just to put things in perspective, when Oakland first passed this law, pinball didn’t even have flippers. Patrons would pull the plunger for a shot at winning something, and thus was seen as a form of gambling. Even when it developed into a game of skill, it remained illegal until Roger Sharpe, a famous pinball designer, played a fantastic game right before the New York City council in 1976, proving forever that it was skill, not chance, that dominated the game.

Source: SF Gate

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