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Attorney General Announces 11 Violations Against Seaside Heights, Atlantic City Boardwalk Operators

by NJ Office of the OAG

New Jersey’s Attorney General finds game of chance has no chance of winning.

SEASIDE HEIGHTS – Amid the crowds on the Seaside Heights boardwalk today, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs announced that the annual “Safe Summer” boardwalk compliance efforts are underway along the Jersey Shore and initial inspections have found 12 establishments in two seaside towns that have allegedly violated state consumer protection laws and regulations.

The Safe Summer initiative, designed to promote a family-friendly environment in New Jersey’s coastal communities, is a Division enforcement effort to check boardwalk games for fairness of play, and to ensure they haven’t been modified to the disadvantage of players. Investigators also check stores for compliance with pricing and refund policies.

For many families, a trip to the Jersey Shore isn’t complete without a visit to the boardwalk to enjoy rides and games, and perhaps purchase a souvenir,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We don’t want anyone walking away from what should be an enjoyable trip feeling like they, or worse, their children, were taken advantage of by rigged games or deceptive sales practices.”

“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.”

Since Safe Summer 2018 got underway last month, investigators from the Division’s Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission (LGCCC) unit and its Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) have visited boardwalks in Seaside Heights and Atlantic City.

LGCCC investigators inspected a total of 8 arcades and 27 individual amusement games and found 5 locations with alleged violations, including crane machines with prizes too heavy or packed too tightly to be picked up, and a boardwalk game where it was impossible to win the top prize in the number of allotted chances. Investigators wrote up a total of 11 violations that will be presented to the Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission for possible action.

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.

The Safe Summer initiative is a coordinated effort by the Division to blanket a handful of boardwalks with investigators each summer. 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. The Division also hands out educational materials to consumers to empower them as their own best advocates against fraud and deceit in the marketplace.

In addition to the Safe Summer sweeps, investigators with LGCCC conduct boardwalk inspections all season long; visiting every one of the state’s 266 amusement game licensees at least once. There are 16 shore resort municipalities in New Jersey with licensed amusement games: Keansburg, Long Branch, Pt. Pleasant, Manasquan, Seaside Park, Seaside Heights, Sea Isle City, Wildwood, North Wildwood, Stone Harbor, Beach Haven, Atlantic City, Brigantine, Beachwood, Toms River, and Cape May.

Since the Safe Summer initiative began in 2014, LGCCC has issued 183 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.

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