Mom drops Chuck E. Cheese gambling lawsuit

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The lawsuit against Chuck E. Cheese has been dropped. Photo: Joe Utsler

A San Diego woman has voluntarily dropped her lawsuit against pizza chain Chuck E. Cheese’s, in which she had claimed the company was engaging in illegal gambling.

Denise Keller, a real estate agent and mother of two, filed a dismissal “without prejudice” through her attorney in California court on Thursday dropping the entire action against CEC Entertainment, Inc., the parent company of Chuck E. Cheese.

Keller had filed the lawsuit seeking upwards of $5 million in damages and restitution, saying that the numerous games in Chuck E. Cheese’s where kids deposit tokens in hopes for tickets that can redeemed for prizes were not in fact mere arcade games but “casino-style gambling devices.” Those types of games are prohibited under California law.

The suit claimed that the games promoted “addictive behavior in children” and create “the same highs and lows experienced by adults who gamble their paychecks or the mortgage payment. CEC replied that they were in compliance with state law, and even if they weren’t, Keller admitted to participating in the games which would then make her ineligible to seek damages.


But the court of public opinion seemed to be against Keller, and online commenters over the past several days pilloried her for filing the lawsuit in lieu of simply exercising parental authority.

CEC Entertainment released a statement about the dismissal, saying:

Chuck E. Cheese’s has just found out through a court filing that Ms. Keller voluntarily dismissed her legal action against us today. We steadfastly believe that her claims had no merit, and we were willing to vigorously defend ourselves against those claims. We are proud to be a family friendly environment and the place where a kid can be a kid! Finally, we wish to thank all of our fans for your support and for making us what we are today.

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