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The government of Thailand is banning claw machine arcade games throughout most of the country, deeming that the machines are gambling devices.
An order banning the machines was issued by Minister Pawin Chamniprasart of the Interior Ministry. The machines subject to the ban are claw machines where players try to select a toy or doll in a case by inserting money or tokens. The minister claims that the process of putting money in without any guarantee of return makes these machines gambling, and thus in violation of law. Machines, where players are guaranteed a prize such as candy, are not considered to be gambling under the order.
Claw machines are popular among youth in the country, with lawmakers concerned that the devices could turn children into gambling addicts. Machines are often found at malls, and a survey found there to be more than 1,300 machines at 75 malls throughout the country.
Operators of the machines will be given a warning if they're found to be running the machines, but could face fines or jail if they ignore the warning.