Pinball Was Corrupting Our Children in Lanark County



Photo-Slot machine raids were often conducted as media events. Pinterest

From the beginning of pinball in the early 1930s, a recurring problem encountered by the pinball industry was the anti-gambling forces. Because of the preponderance of Slot Machines, trade stimulators and other gambling devices, many people opposed to gambling were suspicious of ALL coin-operated devices. As a result, for many years to come, pinballs had to be defended as being amusement and not gambling devices.

One must realize though that many pinball parlours, bowling alleys and bars were seedy and prone to be habited by low life people, who in addition to gambling were casting bets on the side. Slot machine raids were often conducted as media events. The press was pre-invited so the politicians could get maximum publicity.




A clamp down on pinball machine operators was in full swing in Eastern Ontario in the spring of 1959. Twenty machines were seized with nine of them being confiscated. The purge started after several complaints about illegal gaming houses. Five electric pinball machines, estimated at a value of $4,000 were burnt at the Perth and Almonte dumps under the supervision of the Perth OPP detachment.

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The Ottawa Journal26 Jan 1940, FriPage 1

Over $233 in nickels were removed from the coin boxes prior to the machines being smashed and burnt. In charge of the clamp-down was Constable D. Pierce an Corp. L. Gartner of the OPP Perth detachment. For the machines to be destroyed, thirty-one days had to elapse after an operator was convicted. The forfeited money was sent to the local magistrate who in turn would forward the money to the provincial treasure. Photo shows an O.P.P. constable smashing a pinball machine at the dump.

Ken Brown from Brown’s Pool Hall on Gore Street was quotes in the Perth Courier that he had nearly been put out of business. One would say it was a slippery slope to the Mafia taking over the town:)

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The Ottawa Journal04 May 1959, MonPage 7



No doubt about it– You Couldn’t Touch these pinball machines as it was Hammer Time in the 50s.

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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