Phone-Charging Kiosks Ruled Illegal In WI

He was given credit for a unique idea, but in the end an idea that was determined to be illegal. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled unanimously that cellphone-charging kiosks, that allow users to win or lose money by simply playing the video game, were illegal. 

The court upheld rulings from Milwaukee County Circuit Court and the state appeals court that also determined the kiosks, known as “Pow’r Up” machines, to be illegal.

The Quick Charge Kiosk, was the creation of Jeremy Hahn, who operates the kiosks in convenience stores and gas stations throughout the state. The kiosk gives the customer credits to play a video game while their phone is charging. Customers can redeem a ticket, if they win, at the store where the kiosk is located.

The story started back in 2015, when the kiosks started to appear in gas stations and convenience stores around the state. The Wisconsin attorney general said then they were illegal gambling machines and several were seized. Quick Charge sued, arguing that the machines were allowed under state law. They argued, in part, that they don’t constitute gambling machines because a free play option is available.

“Free play option or not, Quick Charge’s argument does not overcome the reality that its kiosks can be used as gambling machines,” Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Brian Hagedorn wrote. “Simply because a kiosk has uses other than illegal gambling does not negate that reality.”