If you feel like those carnival games at the Jersey Shore are impossible to win, you’re right — but the state attorney general is working to change that.
Officials have begun an initiative to inspect arcades along New Jersey boardwalks, ensuring the house doesn’t have an unfair advantage preventing players from bringing home a prize.
“These games of chance, in order for it to be fun, people actually have to have a chance of winning,” state Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino told reporters, according to the Asbury Park Press. “If you don’t have a chance of winning, that’s just not playing fair.”
Inspectors from state Division of Consumer Affairs visited 55 games and found violations at 20, issuing 38 violation notices, according to the newspaper. Porrino said infractions included overinflated basketballs, which bounce off the rim and make a shot “nearly impossible” to make, and crane games where the claw is not being capable of supporting the weight of a prize or items being in unreachable places.
A first offense slaps a $200 fine against the game’s operators, with subsequent violations upping the cost to $500, according to NJ.com.
According to NJ.com, more than 100 violations against game operators have been discovered by the Division of Consumer Affairs since 2014. Seaside Heights and Point Pleasant boardwalks, where the 20 recent infractions were found, have become points of concern for investigators recently.
Joe Chessere, an investigator who has tested games for 14 years, told NJ.com that the Division of Consumer Affairs check the vendor’s license and inspect the game’s equipment.
Chessere added that customers are able to file complaints, which the department will check out.
However, he points out the games are not always to blame.
“We have to take both sides of the story,” he said. “Not everybody is a professional basketball player.”