One of my favorite places to go as a child was Chuck E. Cheese's. It was THE place to have a birthday party, THE place to eat great pizza, and THE place to have fun. Even the slogan says, "Where a kid can be a kid!"
But now, a mother of two claims Chuck E. Cheese's is where a kid can develop a gambling problem. And she's suing the Dallas-based chain for $5 million.
That was my initial reaction. I thought, But it doesn't promote gambling! Everyone I knew in elementary school loved that place! I sure don't have a gambling problem. What the hell?
My memories of Chuck E. Cheese's include eating delicious pizza and chocolate cake. It was a place where I could get lost in my imagination, especially in the ball pit where there were winding tunnels, twisty slides, and hideaway areas where I pretended to be in a futuristic space ship or escaping evil villains in an alien cave.
But after scanning through the news story (click here to read it), I'm not sure what I think about the whole thing.
It's true, there are games there that you have to pay for with tokens. And to get the tokens, you put quarters or dollar bills into a machine, which gives you tokens in exchange. And then with the tokens, you play these games (basketball, crane, ski-ball, etc.) that will give you tickets if you win. And with the tickets, you can get cool prizes like pencils and bouncy balls or, if you have a ton of tickets, things like radios and lava lamps.
I'm not sure what I think about all this, actually. I can kind of see the mother's point that some of the game machines are similar to adult gambling machines in casinos. But then I can also see how she's blown this claim out of proportion, when she says that Chuck E. Cheese's leads people to develop an actual gambling addiction later in life.
So I guess I'm on the fence on this issue.
What do you think? Do you think Chuck E. Cheese's deserves to be sued? Or do you think it's an unfair accusation?