Category Archives: Did You Know……..?

A collection of interesting and humorous snippets from the media about table games.

Did You Know…………….?

Pinball Banned in New York

Yes, that was a real headline in many national papers in the US back in 1942.

It seems almost unbelievable that this would happen but it did. In fact most major American Cities did the same. The only one that didn’t was San Francisco. Even stranger, the ban remained legal until 1976.

This was a throwback to the Prohibition era of the 1920s and 1930s. The Mayor of New York despised corruption in all forms and regarded pinball machines as instruments that corrupted the minds of the young. So he set about banning them completely. Grab and Smash squads were set up to seize and destroy any pinball machine that came to the notice of the authorities. The Mayor himself, Fiorello LaGuardia, was pictured enthusiastically wielding a sledge hammer into a pinball machine.

Pinball machines were just the thin end of the wedge for the religious, puritanical Mayor who came to office in 1934, remaining there for 12 years. He was popular among ordinary people as he relentlessly fought campaigns against crime and corruption, especially against the Mafia crime syndicates. In his organised war against corruption he also shut down brothels, rounded up slot machines, arrested gangsters on any charge he could find, and completely banned pinball, removing machines from arcades, hotels and private homes.

Smashed up pinball machines were apparently broken up, melted down and the metal put towards building equipment for use in World War 2.


The first full-fledged and highly publicized legal attack on pinball came on January 21st, 1942, when New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia banned pinball in the city, ordering the seizure of thousands of machines. The ban — which would remain in effect until 1976 — was the culmination of legal efforts which had started much earlier, and which could be found in municipal pockets all over the country. LaGuardia, however, was the first to get the job done on a large scale. A native New Yorker of half-Italian, half-Jewish ancestry, LaGuardia despised corruption in all forms, and the image of the stereotypical Italian gangster was one he resented. During his long, popular tenure as mayor of New York City, he shut down brothels, rounded up slot machines, arrested gangsters on any charge he could find, and he banned pinball. For the somewhat puritanical LaGuardia, pinball machine pushers were “slimy crews of tinhorns, well dressed and living in luxury on penny thievery” and the game was part of a broader “craze” for gambling. He ordered the city’s police to make Prohibition-style pinball raids and seizures its “top priority,” and was photographed with a sledgehammer, triumphantly smashing the seized machines. On the first day of the ban, the city police confiscated more than 2,000 pinball machines and issued nearly 1,500 summons. A New York Times article of January 23, 1942 informed readers that the “shiny trimmings of 2,000 machines” had been stripped and sent off to the country’s munitions factories to contribute to the war effort.

Did You Know…………?

……..that Table Football in Turkey is now Legal

Strange that in a country where stabbings and killings are common at real football matches where passions run high that a relatively peaceful game of table football should have been banned for almost 50 years.

Relax, if you are visiting Turkey for a vacation in the near future; since January 17th 2016 you can now play a rousing game of table football without fear of being whisked away by the local police with the prospect of a lengthy jail sentence. Well, we hope so. Whether the recent upheavals and reforms following the attempted coup will include a backlash against table football and other games remains to be seen.

The ban on table football games was introduced in 1968 as it was deemed by the authorities that it was a form of gambling and was bad for people’s health and well-being. Table football is known as Langirt in Turkish and this word is synonymous with slot machines and gambling which is forbidden in this Muslim country.

The ban on pinball, roulette and some other games remains in place. However pool is not affected by this law and remains a popular pursuit for younger adults throughout Turkey.

We spoke with several Turkish residents and many tourists who insisted that this bizarre legislation was largely unknown particularly in Istanbul and the south western tourist areas. Foosball, as it is commonly known in eastern Europe, was very popular in larger cities and in Mediterranean coastal areas that attract many tourists from Europe and the US.

The Turkish Constitutional Court has now ruled that table football does not interfere with family life or work after all and also set to review the official status of other leisure pursuits such as electronic and video based games as these are now regarded as healthy.

It seems that sales of table games are going to rise in Turkey for the next few years.