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Shock: Some Jersey Shore boardwalk games are fixed, inspectors say

Officials said one boardwalk game was cited because it was impossible to win the top prize in the number of allotted chances.

Prizes for a Boardwalk Game.
Prizes for a Boardwalk Game.Read moreiStock

State inspectors have taken to the New Jersey Shore to ensure that boardwalk games and stores are in compliance with consumer-protection regulations, and officials said they have already found a dozen establishments that have not been playing fair in Seaside Heights and Atlantic City.

"We don't want anyone walking away from what should be an enjoyable trip feeling like they or, worse, their children were taken advantage of by rigged games or deceptive sales practices," Attorney General  Gurbir S. Grewal  said in announcing the annual "Safe Summer" enforcement operation, which has been underway for a month.

Officials said inspectors visited eight arcades and 27 individual amusement games at the two boardwalks and found five locations with violations that included crane machines with prizes too heavy or packed too tightly to be picked up, and a boardwalk game where it was impossible to win the top prize in the number of allotted chances.

The five locations received a total of 11 violations that will be presented to the Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission for possible action.

Investigators also inspected 25 stores and cited seven for violations that included hundreds of items — from children's clothing to shot glasses — without clearly marked prices and a shop without a prominently posted refund policy.

"Our investigators comb the boardwalk to ensure a fair and safe experience for the thousands of individuals and families who flock to the Jersey Shore each summer," said Paul R. Rodríguez, acting director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. "Through their efforts, we are making sure that the few stores and amusement game operators who aren't playing by the rules are held accountable so they don't spoil the fun for everyone."

There are 16 Shore municipalities with licensed amusement games, including Sea Isle City, Wildwood, North Wildwood, Stone Harbor, Beach Haven, Brigantine, and Cape May.

Amusement game violations are subject to fines of up to $250 for the first offense and up to $500 for subsequent offense. The state also has the power to revoke licenses.