The State of Georgia v. Ms. Pac-Man

August 2, 2011 -

Last week officers from the Georgia Department of Revenue showed up at the Plaza Theatre in Atlanta and seized eight of the establishment's vintage arcade games because for "vending law violations." Seized doesn't mean taking physical possession of the machines; instead the machines were unplugged and tagged with bright red violation stickers.

The arcade machines were lacking stickers showing that permit fees had been paid. Plaza owner Jonathan Rej puts it a little more bluntly: "You've got to give the government its cut." Rej claims that there was some confusion on who was supposed to pay the permit fees. He thought that the vending company that owns the machine paid its share of the fees. Rej acknowledges that the required tax stickers weren't present and that the Plaza certainly hadn't paid any of the fees it owes to the state, as the venue where the games are located.

"I'm not trying to say this is a huge injustice or that I'm outraged," Rej says. "It kind of makes sense that there would be some kind of permit fee, but we just didn't know about it."

The annual fees for an old video game machine aren't particularly expensive (around $25), but since the machine only earns about $200 a year and spends a lot of time out of order, Rej isn't sure the games are worth keeping. Sadly the Plaza was the only place interested in giving the machines a home.

"Nobody else wants these old games," says Rej. "All the sports bars want Golden Tee or Big Buck Hunter."

The Plaza had brought in several of the machines months ago to join the familiar game machines like Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga and Defender games.

"I'd wanted to turn the room into a full-on '80s video arcade with black lights," he says. "It's not a big money-maker, but my goal was to cultivate a cool vibe."

Rej still hopes to keep two or three of the older machines, but needs to make arrangements with the vendor at this point. But the worst part of the story is that some jerk apparently dropped a dime on The Plaza to the government. The Plaza is a non-profit arts charity and one that struggles from month to month to pay the bills even as it is hosting numerous screenings, film festivals, movie-related events and new releases.

Source: Creative Loafing Atlanta. Thanks to Jäger Wolf via The ECA's Facebook Page for the tip. Image via.


Comments

Re: The State of Georgia v. Ms. Pac-Man

Well, the owner's story sounds plausible at least.

When I used to work in coin-op, the configuration menu on newer machines was configurable to make the process of figuring out which cut when where and who paid which fees.  It allowed the fee schedule to be configured by the distributor so there was no confusion between the distributor, operator, location, or people on the routes, regarding who had what responsibility.

Handling it by paper, I can easily see confusion creeping in.

 
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Matthew WilsonSF have to build upwards they have natural growth limits. they can not grow outwards. ps growing outwards is terable just look at Orlando or Austin for that.04/16/2014 - 4:15pm
ZippyDSMleeIf they built upward then it would becoem like every other place making it worthless, if they don't build upward they will price people out making it worthless, what they need to do is a mix of things not just one exstreme or another.04/16/2014 - 4:00pm
Matthew Wilsonyou know the problem in SF was not the free market going wrong right? it was government distortion. by not allowing tall buildings to be build they limited supply. that is not free market.04/16/2014 - 3:48pm
ZippyDSMleeOh gaaa the free market is a lie as its currently leading them to no one living there becuse they can not afford it makign it worthless.04/16/2014 - 3:24pm
Matthew WilsonIf you have not read http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/introducing-steam-gauge-ars-reveals-steams-most-popular-games/ you should. It is a bit stats heavy, but worth the read.04/16/2014 - 2:04pm
Matthew Wilsonthe issue is when is doesn't work it can screw over millions in new york city's case. more often than not it is better to let the free market run its course without market distortion.04/16/2014 - 9:36am
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ZippyDSMleehttp://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2014/04/15/riaa_files_civil_suit_against_megaupload04/16/2014 - 8:48am
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Neenekowell, specifically it helps people already living there and hurts people who want to live there instead. As for 'way more hurt', majorities generally need less legal protection. yes it hurt more people then it helped, it was written for a minority04/16/2014 - 8:30am
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ConsterTo be fair, there's so little left of the middle class that those numbers are skewing.04/16/2014 - 7:42am
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NeenekoSo "worked" vs "failed" really comes down to who you think is more important and deserving04/15/2014 - 7:04pm
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