Vending Machine, Game Operators Face 300% Fee Hike
By Jon Jordan, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma vending machine and game operators are facing a 300 percent hike in state fees.
The increase goes into effect July 1 and is a way to make up for the state's revenue shortfall.
One of the businesses expected to get hit hard by the increase is Cactus Jack's a long time arcade and family entertainment center in Oklahoma City.
Currently Cactus Jack's operates about 350 games at their Oklahoma City location and in various places throughout the metro. Each video game machine is subject to a $50 increase per machine to operate, costing the business about $17,000 a year.
"The question was simple, do you raise fees or do you lay off teachers," said Governor Brad Henry's spokesperson Paul Sund. "Do you raise fees or furlough troopers; we thought it made more sense to raise fees."
The fee hike approved by lawmakers this year raises the annual fees to more than $52,000 a year. The bill that was approved by lawmakers during the last week of the session is expected to be signed by the Governor within the next week.
"It's going to hurt us bad; I know some operators who are going to go out of business," said Mike Sefcovick owner of Cactus Jack's.
Sefcovick says he hopes to sway the Governor from signing the bill that would increase his fees. By doing things like increasing the cost of games Sefcovick believes he will be able to stay in business, but he says he knows of others who are already looking at shutting their businesses down.