San Francisco to Legalize Arcade Games

Longstanding, little-known ban on coin-operated video games to be lifted

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Arcades may soon be legalized in San Francisco, after a little-known law prohibiting 10 or more arcade games in a business is lifted.

    Laws banning a business from having more than 10 games were passed in the 1980s, when lawmakers were apparently concerned about the threats to youth posed by the likes of Donkey Kong, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

    Today, there's a popular pinball spot in the Upper Haight neighborhood -- but Free Gold Watch, which has been on Waller Street with its 30 pinball machines since 2007, is technically flouting the law.

    Supervisor London Breed, who represents the Haight Ashbury area, has sponsored a law that would allow Free Gold Watch to carry on with protection of the law.

    In the future, a business will be able to carry up to four arcade games or pinball machines with no permit necessary. Bars will need to pay over $1,000 in permits and fees for five or more games.