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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 5, May 2011, Posted On: 5/4/2011

Massachusetts Town Retains 28-Year-Old Arcade Ban

Marcus Webb
arcade, Marshfield MA arcade ban, video game ban, coin-op game, coin machine ban, amusement business

MARSHFIELD, MA -- Twenty eight years after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively upheld Marshfield, MA's right to ban arcades, citizens of this small town 25 miles southeast of Boston voted to continue the antigame ordinance. The 655-544 vote was held during a town meeting on April 28. Marshfield's population is 4,297.

The outcome means Marshfield will maintain its status as "the only town in the United States that outlaws videogames," according to George Mallett, a lifelong resident who proposed lifting the ban. Mallett called the antigame ordinance "stupid" and suggested it made the town the butt of endless jokes.

Supporters of the ban argued at the town meeting that videogames are bad for kids and make for unwelcome, noisy interruptions in restaurants and other locations.

Residents originally voted in favor of the arcade ban in 1982; amusement vending operators sued then, but the state Supreme Court ruled against them. An attempt to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court failed when the justices declined to hear the case.

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