Pinball machines illegal in Kokomo? City council works to repeal outdated ban


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KOKOMO, Ind. – For many decades, the pings and bells of pinball machines could be heard in arcades and pizza parlors across the United States. However, the popular activity was outlawed in one central Indiana city.

Why? Because it was a game of chance, not skill, and therefor considered gambling.

The pinball prohibition in Kokomo stretches back decades, according to the Kokomo Tribune.

Kokomo’s Common Council unanimously voted to ban pinball machines back in July 1955. At the time of the ban, it is estimated that there were 103 pinball machines in the city.

According to an editorial published in the Kokomo Tribune, wives had long complained about the games and were very pleased with the ban because their husbands would spend their entire paychecks playing pinball.

Punishment for owning or operating a pinball machine was a fine of up to $300 and six months in jail, the Kokomo Tribune reports. The ordinance also gave police the power to impound any operating pinball machine they encountered.

Over 60 years later, the ban has still not been lifted.

However, the city council is hoping to change that and vote to repeal the ban during a meeting on December 12.

Council member Steve Whikehart is sponsoring the ordinance.

"Obviously pinball machines are not a high mark on the police department’s, city council, or city administrations radar,” said Whikehart.

The ban hasn’t been enforced in quite some time, and frankly, most people are unaware that it actually exists.

"My wife and I have always dreamed our son will live in a place where pinball is legal. After 40 years that dream will become a reality,” Whikehart jokingly told FOX59.

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