The popular game that was banned in New York from 1942 to 1976 was pinball. Pinball is a game in which players use paddles to hit a metal ball around a playfield, with the goal of scoring points by hitting targets or completing certain objectives.
The ban on pinball in New York was the result of a longstanding belief that the game was associated with gambling and other forms of illicit activity. Pinball machines were seen as a form of "coin-operated gambling devices," and many politicians and law enforcement officials believed that they were used to launder money or otherwise facilitate illegal activity.
The first ban on pinball in New York City was put in place in 1942, during World War II. At the time, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia led a crusade against the game, arguing that it was a distraction from the war effort and that it encouraged youth delinquency. LaGuardia famously smashed several pinball machines with a sledgehammer during a press conference, and the machines were rounded up and destroyed in a public ceremony.
The ban on pinball continued for decades, with politicians and law enforcement officials citing concerns about gambling and organized crime as reasons to keep the game illegal. However, by the 1960s and 1970s, attitudes towards pinball began to shift. The game became more widely accepted as a form of entertainment, and many people began to see it as harmless.
In 1976, the ban on pinball in New York was finally lifted. The decision was largely the result of the efforts of Roger Sharpe, a pinball player and advocate who testified before the New York City Council that pinball was a game of skill, not chance. Sharpe famously demonstrated his skill by calling his shots on a pinball machine in front of the council, helping to convince them that pinball was a legitimate form of entertainment and not a tool for organized crime.
After the ban was lifted, pinball experienced a resurgence in popularity. The game became a fixture in arcades and bars across the country, and new machines were developed with more advanced features and technology. Today, pinball remains a beloved pastime for many people, and there are still tournaments and competitions held around the world.
The history of the ban on pinball in New York is a fascinating example of how cultural attitudes towards certain forms of entertainment can change over time. At one point, pinball was seen as a dangerous and corrupting influence on society, but today it is widely recognized as a harmless and fun activity. The efforts of people like Roger Sharpe helped to change the perception of pinball and open up new opportunities for people to enjoy the game.
While the ban on pinball in New York is now a thing of the past, the game is still subject to regulation in some areas. In some states, for example, pinball machines are considered gambling devices and are subject to strict regulations and licensing requirements. Despite these challenges, however, pinball remains a beloved game that has endured for generations, and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in pinball, with new machines being developed and old machines being restored and refurbished. There are even pinball museums and galleries that showcase the history and artistry of the game. For many people, pinball represents a nostalgic connection to the past, a reminder of a simpler time when entertainment was simple and fun.
In conclusion, the ban on pinball in New York from 1942 to 1976 was a significant moment in the history of the game. The ban was the result of a longstanding belief that pinball was associated with gambling and other forms of illicit activity, and it was only lifted after years of effort by advocates and players. Today