From the Archives: Pinball games banned in Los Angeles

Oct. 23, 1939: A crowd of 400 gathers at Los Angeles City Council meeting to discuss the pros and co

During a Dec. 10, 1939, election, Los Angeles City Proposition No. 3, banning pinball games, passed with about 161,000 votes for and 113,000 against.

The Los Angeles Times reported the next morning:

Pin-ball games, marble boards, scoop claws and similar devices, under the ordinance approved yesterday by the people, will be declared nuisances in public places, and therefore subject to seizure by the police. The ordinance had a substantial majority, …

Mayor Bowron and his Police Commission urged the adoption of the anti pin-ball law on the grounds that the machines are used for petty gambling, so widespread that the police are totally insufficient in number to enforce the law.

The June 22, 1974, Los Angeles Times reported the 1939 pinball ordinance ruled invalid by the California Supreme Court.

Oct. 23, 1939: A crowd of 400 gathers at Los Angeles City Council meeting to discuss the pros and cons of a proposal to outlaw pinball games, punchboards and similar devices. Los Angeles Times

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