The games are called "quarter pushers" and they can be found in some convenience stores in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley. The players drop quarters in the machine in hopes that more quarters will drop out. Until this week, it's been unclear if a quarter pusher game was considered a game of skill, and therefore legal or a game of chance, and therefore illegal.
On Tuesday, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel released an opinion on the issue, saying: "...In my opinion the devices violate the prohibition on possession of gambling devices. Furthermore, the so-called 'Chuck E. Cheese' law does not shield these devices from the criminal prohibition on gambling devices, assuming cash prizes are awarded and/or the device has an 'automatic money payoff mechanism.' "
The Chuck E. Cheese law allows businesses to operate arcade games, as long as the payout is a token or coupon. With the quarter pushers game, the payout is cash, which is illegal. City prosecutors around Northwest Arkansas say they haven't noticed many, if any, of these devices in the area. But as for stores that do have quarter pushers?
Fayetteville City Prosecutor Casey Jones says police officers won't go store to store looking for the games, but if they do find a business has one, they'll warn the store owner to come in compliance with the law and get rid of the quarter pusher. "And if they don't," Jones says, "we'll prosecute them."
Gunner DeLay, Prosecuting Attorney for the 12th Judicial District in Sebastian County, requested the A.G.'s opinion. He says he and Ft. Smith police officers will ask stores with quarter pusher games to get rid of them in the next seven to ten days.