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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Andrew EisenMechaTama - Again, my apologies for being unclear. The last sentence really should have started "For example, in the below link," similar to how I worded the request the last time I made it.03/05/2015 - 11:57am
Papa MidnightBecause, you know, that's worked out so well over the past 10 years that they've said the same exact thing: https://i.imgur.com/RFrFNoZ.jpg03/05/2015 - 9:25am
Papa MidnightAh, it's a new year. You know what that means: time for Microsoft to renew it's promise on PC Gaming! http://www.businessinsider.com/windows-10-games-2015-303/05/2015 - 9:24am
MechaTama31Not to belabor the point, but you did say "folks" and "any links", which doesn't sound to me like you were referring only to one particular link... </pedant> ;)03/05/2015 - 8:33am
MechaCrashIt can be made extraneous, depending on how you format the URL. For example: http://youtu.be/dQw4w9WgXcQ03/05/2015 - 6:28am
Andrew EisenMechaTama - I was referring specifically to the link below my post. I should have been more clear. My bad.03/05/2015 - 2:42am
james_fudgefair point, let's say "excluding YouTube videos"03/05/2015 - 2:25am
MechaTama31The stuff after the ? is not *always* extraneous.03/04/2015 - 11:57pm
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E. Zachary KnightIt's the Super Mario timeline. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/386496/smbTimeline_huge.png03/04/2015 - 6:49pm
prh99There are the various URL shortening services.03/04/2015 - 6:45pm
WymorenceIronic that they're releasing a game about cops and robbers in essence while they don the "extortionist" mask...03/04/2015 - 6:38pm
 

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