The Nebraska State Fair opens today in Grand Island and a popular attraction is the midway. There will be long lines for rides and barkers getting your attention to play a carnival game or two. Several troopers with the Nebraska State Patrol are inspecting those games today to make sure they are meet state regulations.
Sergeant Ryan Phinney is one of the troopers inspecting those games. He says they must be a game of skill and not a game of chance. The purpose of the inspection is to make sure the game can be won.
Sergeant Phinney says if a game doesn’t meet state regulations, “We would give them an opportunity to make corrections. We will periodically, through the years, make suggestions that a bucket or a target would need to be moved closer to make it winnable.” If they continue to operate in a manner that violates state law they will be shut down.
Sergeant Phinney says carnival operators have changed their method of operation over the past several years. He says more are operating on a you pay to play you will win something. He says, “It may not be the big teddy bear. It may be something smaller but almost all of the games that we inspect typically have some type of plan or rule like that if you pay so much you are going to be guaranteed to win. It just a matter of what prize you win at that game.”
The State Patrol will also check to make sure the games do not involve any kind of gambling or an illegal type of game. Sergeant Phinney says they want people to come out and if they choose to play the games they enjoy them and know they are legal in the state of Nebraska.