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Arrested Arcade Owner Eager For Trial

4 November 2001

DECATUR, Alabama – Nov. 4, 2001 – As reported by the Decatur Daily: "Angie Thom is out of jail and out of a job, and she hopes out of bad luck, too, as she looks forward to her day in court.

"The owner of Paradise Arcade took her chances by reopening the adult game room two months ago

"…Officers confiscated 21 slot machine-type video games and more than $3,000 in cash and gift certificate prizes.

"…Police charged her with two counts of possession of a gambling device, and did not arrest any of her customers. The charges are misdemeanors, and Ms. Thom was released from Decatur City Jail after posting $1,000 in bonds.

"…Morgan County District Attorney Bob Burrell banned the machines in late July.

"Police said they believe there are other illegal gaming machines in the city and plan to continue investigating them with assistance from the Internal Revenue Service.

"The adult arcades began spreading across Alabama a year ago. Owners say they are legal based on the `Chuck E. Cheese Law' passed by the Legislature a few years ago. It allows businesses to award prizes worth no more than $5 to arcade winners.

"…Burrell and other lawmakers contend the Chuck E. Cheese law was intended for children's games of skill, and that the adult arcades are strictly games of chance.

"…Burrell and other district attorneys in the state began banning them in July, and Ms. Thom maintains they overstepped their jurisdiction in doing so.

"`Their office basically changed the rules in the middle of the game,' she said.

"…`I'll feel relief when it gets to court,' Ms. Thom said, `because I'm pretty confident we'll win.'

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