By Ethan Forman
The owners of the Lucky 7 arcade in Gloucester are looking to expand by opening a second location inside the Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers.
If not for the need to construct handicapped-accessible bathrooms, said Rosalie Parisi, owner and manager of Lucky 7 LLC, the arcade would have been open by the end of April. She said it could take another month for the Danvers location to open with its penny video slot games.
On Tuesday, the Danvers selectmen unanimously granted approval of an application by Lucky 7 for 41 coin-operated amusement devices. The business had to go before the Planning Board for a special permit for the use in March 2011, Senior Planner Kate Day said.
The plan is to open in the same wing as the Registry of Motor Vehicles branch office, next to the former Brigham's Ice Cream location.
The town clerk's office said the arcade devices that Lucky 7 plans to use are approved by the state Division of Standards. They are licensed locally.
"It's an interesting concept," selectmen Chairman Dan Bennett said. "I hope it's successful."
The town receives licensing fees of $100 per machine.
The difference between a casino's slot machines and the games used by the Lucky 7 is "one is for entertainment purposes only," said Charles Carroll, the deputy director of the state Division of Standards, who referred questions to the state Lottery.
"Obviously, the remuneration in a casino is cash," said Lisa McDonald, a Lottery spokeswoman.
Rosalie Parisi, who, with her husband Sam, celebrated Lucky 7's fifth anniversary last year in the Gloucester arcade, located in the plaza at 2 Rogers St., noted that the arcade also gives a tangible boost to local economies.
The Gloucester arcade, which will continue to operate, offers prizes that include gift certificates to local restaurants and other businesses, she noted.
"I'd say we often bring in people through gift certificates that wouldn't have gone out to eat, or shop or visit other local businesses otherwise," she said. "I like to think it really makes a difference for Gloucester businesses."
The Lucky 7 arcade in Danvers will be for players 21 and older, and it will feature video games that mimic penny slot machines.
"They are not slot machines," Parisi said. "You have to hold, and you have to decide what to hold," meaning there is some skill involved, unlike a traditional slot machine that involves a simple pull of a lever or push of a button.
Parisi emphasized that Lucky 7 is also not an Internet slot cafe, where players can try their hand at online slots or video poker for cash prizes, which is illegal.
"It's a place for adults to go, and mostly my clients are elderly people," Parisi said.
The arcade also promises a place where seniors can go to meet and be with others.
"My mother is 90, and she has made friends," Parisi said.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DanverSalemNews.