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Skill-Based Amusement Machine Licenses

Published: Apr 12, 2018 by John Izzo

Do you own or operate skill-based amusement machines (SBAM) Do you sell or lease SBAMs. Are there any SBAMs on your property. If you answered yes to any of these questions, you and/or your company may need to be licensed by the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC).

According to the OCCC, a SBAM is a gaming machine that is dependent upon skill to win. It can be electrical, mechanical, video, or digital in nature. It may provide merchandise prizes or redeemable vouchers, but the prizes cannot exceed $10 wholesale. The outcome of the game cannot be determined by chance. In addition, prizes cannot be cash, bingo or lottery tickets, alcohol, firearms, gift cards, or plays on a game of chance. The exception to gift cards is gas cards, but the gas cards can only be used for the purchase of gasoline.

The OCCC defines three types of SBAM. A player receives nothing of value for playing a Type A SBAM. This is the classic arcade-style game. A player receives a prize directly from a Type B SBAM. This includes crane and claw style games. Any other SBAM is a Type C SBAM. This includes games where tickets are awarded from the machine but redeemed elsewhere.

Vendors who manufacture Type B or C SBAMs, or distribute Type B or C SBAMs, must be licensed. Type B and Type C SBAM operators must also be licensed. Locations that receive revenue from Type C SBAM must be licensed. Certain employees or owners of companies must be licensed as well.

The licensing process begins on April 23, 2018. The application process is online. No one is grandfathered in. All of the above-mentioned participants must be licensed. Those who apply for a license through June 22, 2018, will be in a safe harbor; they will be allowed to continue operating as long as they complete the licensure process. A person who purposely or knowingly operates a skill-based amusement machine contrary to the law commits a fifth degree felony.

If you have questions about skill-based amusement machines, you need to talk with an attorney at Graff & McGovern. Attorney John Izzo can be reached at, or 614-228-5800, extension 5.