Every person that has ever failed to win a prize in an arcade machine has probably claimed that a game is rigged, but it seems that might actually be the case for Sega’s Key Master machines. A class action lawsuit claims that Key Master is not the game of chance it appears to be, but instead, it merely gives out prizes after a certain number of losses by other players. The lawsuit was filed in a California court by Marcelo Muto. The lawsuit is seeking $5 million in damages for participants in the class action lawsuit, as well as clarified language on the machines about how the game works.
“Nowhere on the Key Master Machine do Defendants inform consumers of the truth: that the machines are rigged so that players can only win prizes at certain times,” the lawsuit reads.
Key Master machines feature a number of different prizes. The machine leads players to believe that by pressing the button at the exact right moment, the “key” can be directed to a specific keyhole, resulting in a prize. It seems that isn’t the case, however. Allegedly, players are only awarded a prize after 700 other players have made an attempt on the machine. Muto’s lawsuit claims that is the default setting, and it can be adjusted by “individual operators.” Apparently, if a set threshold has not been met, the key will overshoot the keyhole, making it seem like the player has lost.
Adding some legitimacy to the claim is the fact that these allegations about Key Master have been going around for years, and there have been previous lawsuits related to the game. While the machines are still in circulation, the game is no longer offered for sale; instead Sega sells a slightly altered version called Prize Locker. This version of the game eliminates the threshold, giving players a legitimate chance at winning a prize, regardless of how many previous players have found success.
“Defendants have refused to cease their deceptive conduct and continue to manufacture and advertise the Key Master Machines as games of skill, as opposed to the illicit gambling machines they truly are,” the lawsuit states. “This refusal, and continued marketing of the Key Master Machines as games of skill, only serve the profit interests of Defendants.”
Have you ever played Key Master? Have you heard allegations that the game is rigged? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!