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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 6, June 2011, Posted On: 5/20/2011

Mom Drops Suit Against Chuck E. Cheese's

Marcus Webb
Chuck E. Cheese's, CEC Entertainment Inc., Chuck E. Cheese lawsuit, kiddie gambling, Debbie Keller, Eric Binink, redemption game, arcade, arcade game, family entertainment center, amusement business

IRVING, TX -- A San Diego woman has voluntarily dropped her kiddie gambling lawsuit against Chuck E. Cheese’s. Debbie Keller, a real estate agent and mother of two, filed a suit against company for $5 million in U.S. District Court in San Diego, CA, on March 29.

This week, Keller filed a dismissal in the California court "without prejudice" through her attorney dropping the entire action against CEC Entertainment Inc., the parent company of the pizza-arcade chain.

Keller's suit had alleged that the company's redemption games include several pieces of illegal gambling equipment that could condition children to eventually become gambling addicts.

Last week, Eric Binink, the plaintiff's attorney, told the San Diego Union Tribune that Keller views the games as "casino-style gambling devices at an arcade" because they take only a few seconds to play and because some machines feature wheels similar to those on roulette games. | SEE STORY

At the time, CEC had issued no public statement about the suit. It filed a motion to have Keller's case dismissed peremptorily on the grounds that its equipment is legal. And in a novel bit of legal reasoning, CEC argued that if the games in question were in fact gambling devices, Keller would be ineligible to seek damages on the grounds that she had voluntarily participated in illegal gambling.

On May 19, CEC Entertainment released a statement about the dismissal, saying:

Chuck E. Cheese’s has just found out through a court filing that Ms. Keller voluntarily dismissed her legal action against us today. We steadfastly believe that her claims had no merit, and we were willing to vigorously defend ourselves against those claims. We are proud to be a family-friendly environment and the place where a kid can be a kid! Finally, we wish to thank all of our fans for your support and for making us what we are today.

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