Oakland Legalizes Pinball Machines

Tilt! Criminal restrictions lifted on pinball in Oakland

Time to lay those quarters down in Oakland, after 80 years of pinball perdition.

Oakland is reversing a law passed in the 1930s which outlawed pinball machines as a form of gambling, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Pinball was considered gambling in Prohibition-era America -- because they were, in fact, bet upon, according to the newspaper.

In those days, machines had no flippers, and so the game was all chance -- no skill.

Flippers came about in the 1940s, and pinball games continued unabated. Police, it seems, had moved onto more pressing matters -- but the law never caught up with the reality.

That means the 13 pinball machines at Hi-Life, a bar in the city's Uptown neighborhood, are technically illegal. Or they will be, until the City Council reverses its pinball ban next week.

Until next week, Oaklanders can stay legal by traveling the short distance to Alameda, home of the Pacific Pinball Museum.

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