National surveys suggest many people won’t waste the effort it takes to bend over and pick up a penny lying on the street.
But New London residents might gain a new appreciation for the coins in a few weeks, when the village will boast what may be its first-ever game room, Gold Rush.
A few pennies or nickels gives players a chance at winning lots of fuel.
Located at 41 Railroad Ave., the former Curves building, Gold Rush will feature 20 to 25 pressbutton machines that will accept pennies and nickels. Patrons can win $10 gas cards, similar to those in other gaming rooms in the state, said Jim Haning, the main business partner behind the venture.
“They’re gas cards, and they can’t purchase anything other than fuel,” Haning said. “They can’t go in and buy cigarettes or pop or anything like that.”
Haning is betting the gaming room will be a welcome addition in the Village of New London, which has a population of about 2,600.
“It gives people something to do other than just sit at home,” Haning said.
Tapping into the popularity of skill games, Haning said his gaming room will provide adults a place to hang out, where they can dig into refreshments and play games for entertainment, plus a chance to win fuel cards.
Ohio law forbids such establishments from offering cash prizes. Under state law, the only legitimate prizes are $10 gas cards. But the games can pay out more than one — if a player wins $80 on a machine, they will receive eight $10 gas cards, Haning said.
New London is bracing for the Gold Rush — possibly the first business of its kind to open in the village.
There hasn’t been one “that I’ve known of, and I’ve been here 21 years,” village administrator Shawn Tappel said.
The village has no zoning regulations addressing gaming rooms. Even if it did, Tappel said the owners have been very cooperative with the village council and have kept them abreast of the venture.
Haning said he is eager to let the games begin.
Giveaways will immediately follow the opening of the business, he said.