laguardia

ONLINE HISTORY COURSE: WHEN PINBALL WAS BANNED, SEIZED AND SMASHED

It’s hard to imagine but pinball was deemed illegal in 1942. Many people considered it a game of chance that appealed to children and would eventually tempt them into more serious forms of gambling. It got even worse when Bally started making machines that actually cashed out when winning. These adjustments were in conflict with the strict gamble laws of the US so pinball machines were banned from the early 1940s till the mid 70’s.

Though it may seem strange to us today, then-New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia took the ban seriously and ordered a raid on the city’s pinball parlors, said to be run by the Mafia, seizing and smashing hundreds of machines and dumping them in the Hudson river.