On January 16th, 1920, the 18th amendment officially went into effect, making the production, transportation, and sale of alcohol illegal in the United States. With that act of moral legislating, gambling became the next target. Coin-operated machines, usually associated with slot machines and betting horses, came under scrutiny. Pinball machines, with their recently-fitted coin mechanisms, became bright, and easy examples of “games of chance.” Politicians took to their pulpit to denounce pinball. Police raided parlors, bowling alleys, and bars that housed these machines. Politicians, literally wielding hammers, smashed these games to smithereens in a public show to illustrate that they too were “moral.” On January 21st, 1942, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia officially banned pinball in New York City and many other American cities soon followed suit.
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