Playing claw machines is almost a rite of passage in the United States. Kids start at a very young age, grabbing up as many quarters as they can to try and win a prize. In Sweden, it’s quite different. Claw machines are actually classified as a type of slot machine. Because of this, the machines are restricted to players 18 and up. An amusement park in Sweden was recently subject to a fine for allowing minors to play the claw games.
Liseberg, a park located in Gothenburg, was fined SEK20,000 ($2,282) after allowing minors to play the machines. A public tip led to Spelinspektionen surveilling the property. The regulator found that the property did not have signs telling patrons that only adults can play the game. Minors were seen playing the claw machine without an adult present.
The operator reportedly did not think that the age restriction applied any longer. They had renewed a land-based commercial gaming license in April of last year and removed the signs after believing the machines were okay for minors to play.
In the past, age limits were highlighted in the license paperwork. The updated license did not do this, so park management assumed that the machines were not age restricted any longer. The age signs have now been put back up at the property, so everyone knows they are not open to minors.
In general, a breach of the Swedish Gaming Act requires a fine of SEK5,000 and 10% of the annual turnover of the business at maximum. However, the regulator felt that the license holder was generally unaware and decided to give them a warning of sorts, which resulted in the fine that was given.
The regulator decided that the issue involved a lower-risk form of gambling and the fine they gave the operator was a solid punishment for the action.