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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) – A statewide boardwalk inspection has found at least 12 businesses at the Jersey Shore to be in violation of state consumer protection laws and regulations.
To make sure arcades and amusement businesses play fair, the New Jersey Division of Consumer of Affairs is doing a boardwalk inspection blitz– checking licensed amusement games in 16 shore towns, starting with Seaside Heights and Atlantic City.
It’s all part of the Safe Summer initiative, which checks boardwalk games for fairness of play and ensures they haven’t been modified to the disadvantage of players. Investigators also check stores for compliance with pricing and refund policies.
The Central Pier Arcade in Atlantic City was under inspection but received no violations.
“They inspected the entire place. The cranes, the machines, the games. And after 5 inspectors spent almost an hour here they found, as you can see here no violations,” said Dave Gorfma with the Central Pier Arcade and Speedway.
Without providing names of businesses, consumer affairs says they found violations at five game providers in the two towns ranging from improper license paperwork to issues that affect fair play. Like cramming prizes too tightly in crane games or putting items inside too heavy for the claw to pick up.
Stan Kiska who owns the Playcade Arcade says he has no problem with inspectors catching shady businesses that give the arcade industry a bad reputation.
“It’s bad for the industry. If people feel that they’re getting cheated they’re not going to come into a place and families want to come to the shore to have fun,” said Kiska.
OCP investigators inspected a total of 25 stores and found 7 with alleged violations, including hundreds of items from children’s clothing to shot glasses without clearly marked prices and a shop without a prominently posted refund policy. Citations will be written up and sent out to the alleged violators.
“Our investigators comb the boardwalk to ensure a fair and safe experience for the thousands of individuals and families who flock to the Jersey Shore each summer,” said Paul R. Rodríguez, acting director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “Through their efforts, we are making sure that the few stores and amusement game operators who aren’t playing by the rules are held accountable so they don’t spoil the fun for everyone.”
In addition to inspecting for consumer protection violations, investigators also check for sales of prohibited items, such as novelty lighters, and test toys and prizes for excessive levels of lead.
Since the Safe Summer initiative began in 2014, LGCCC has issued183 citations alleging one or more violations against amusement games licensees. Violations are subject to fines of up to $250.00 for the first offense and up to $500.00 for the second and each subsequent offense. The Commission also has the power to revoke licenses.