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Sega Sued Yet Again Over “Rigged” Arcade Game

Sega is facing a lawsuit over a “rigged” game cabinet found in shopping centres and arcades.

The game Key Master (image from K-Bid), which sees players use a joystick and buttons to manoeuvre keys into specific holes to “unlock” the corresponding prizes, is marketed as a game of skill; however, the machines are programmed to only permit wins after a certain number of losses – 700 by default – and so will overshoot before that point even if the player lines up the key exactly right.

Image: K-Bid

Plaintiff Marcelo Muto is suing Sega, the game’s manufacturer, for $5 million USD, saying that “the machines are rigged and are designed to prevent even highly-skilled users from being able to win until a set number of unsuccessful plays have been completed”.

“Plaintiff and other consumers would not have otherwise paid money to play the Key Master Machine, or paid for others to play, or would not have paid as much, had they known that the machines were not purely based on skill, and instead were programmed to allow the operator of the machine to undermine the player’s skills by preventing the key from entering the lock,” the suit reads.

Key Master has been the subject of numerous legal troubles in the past, including a 2019 Arizona lawsuit that reached a $1 million USD settlement over its “illegal” odds-altering settings under Arizona law, as well as a 2015 class-action settlement that was tossed out by a US district judge due to an ill-defined affected class.

Sega is no longer selling the Key Master cabinets, instead offering a game called Prize Locker with a similar design but advertised as “100 per cent skill”, as well as conversion kits to turn Key Master into a purely skill-based game. Cabinets are available in Australia, however, through companies like Zax Amusements and Arcade Trader.

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