In the American state of Wisconsin and a local man has reportedly lost out in his bid to legally operate a statewide collection of mobile telephone-charging machines that had also allowed users to play a selection of real-money video games.
According to a Sunday report from local radio broadcaster KFIZ, Jeremy Hahn runs a company known as Quick Charge Kiosk LLC that in 2015 began placing a network of Pow’r Up-branded machines at service stations and convenience stores across ‘The Badger State’. Such units had purportedly charged users $1 for a one-minute boost while simultaneously handing out credits that could be utilized to enjoy video games featuring cash prizes of up to $100.
KFIZ reported that authorities subsequently kicked off a lengthy legal battle after they began seizing these machines over concerns that they were illegal under the Wisconsin Constitution, which prohibits the operation of games of chance at such non-casino locations. Hahn purportedly officially countered by arguing that the units were permissible because they had featured a free-play option and were moreover run in the same way as the lottery-like ‘in-pack chance promotions’ regularly offered by the Midwestern state’s numerous fast-food establishments.
However, the broadcaster reported that the state’s view was consequently affirmed via rulings by the Milwaukee County Circuit Court and the Wisconsin Court of Appeals before ultimately being put to the Wisconsin State Supreme Court. Although it purportedly praised Hahn for his creative approach, this final seven-member body has now nevertheless unanimously ruled that the Pow’r Up machines are unconstitutional because they cannot not be classed as a lottery.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper used its own Friday report into the matter to detail that Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justice Brian Hagedorn wrote that the machines run by Quick Charge Kiosk LLC were illegal because they had conclusively offered punters the opportunity to pay money in order to obtain something of value by chance.
Reportedly read the ruling from Hagedorn…
“Free-play option or not, Quick Charge Kiosk LLC’s argument does not overcome the reality that its kiosks can be used as gambling machines. Simply because a kiosk has uses other than illegal gambling does not negate that reality.”