LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — The Las Vegas museum and arcade dedicated to all things pinball is now set to officially remain open, even moving to a bigger, better location.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, those behind the Pinball Hall of Fame had plans to move from their current location on E. Tropicana to a new and bigger spot just south of the Las Vegas Strip. Unfortunately, like many businesses in the U.S., they’ve fallen on hard times. It was going to take a lot more than a few quarters to keep the place from going under.
"We had a classic cash flow crunch because of COVID. It shut us for 12 weeks and restricted us from our ability to raise money,” explained Pinball Hall of Fame owner and operator Tim Arnold. “We're only about 30 to 40 percent of where we were."
To date, a Go Fund Me page has raised more than $130,000 of a $200,000 goal.
“By working really hard for a period of many years and being very frugal, we had a plan that we were going to be moving to The Strip and do exactly what we're doing here, only bigger and better,” said Arnold. “We had a plan set up, but then COVID wrecked our plan.”
The Pinball Hall of Fame is a registered 501c3 non-profit. After the expenses for monthly rent, electricity, insurance and endowment savings, Arnold donates the remaining funds to the Salvation Army. The location also accepts donations on behalf of the charity, along with donating funds from their candy stand sales.
Seeing that the beloved Las Vegas museum was still at risk of shuttering, local man Steven Campbell, wanted to help. Campbell runs a page on YouTube titled “Not Leaving Las Vegas”. He turned to the online media outlet to try and get into contact with other creators and viewers for more Pinball Hall of Fame support.
Campbell eventually got into contact with an anonymous donor who offered nearly $80,000 to help.
“He emailed me back and wrote, ‘They need how much? I can write a check.' Turns out, he's in Vegas,” explained Campbell. "I went over to his place, he handed me a check and I was just taken aback.”
The News 3 cameras were rolling during the surprise delivery.
"I just got handed a check for $79,000 from an anonymous donor! That finishes our fundraising campaign,” said Arnold, while obviously shocked. “We are basically not going to starve to death and put the games out on the street for lack of a better place to go.”
The original fundraising goal of the Pinball Hall of Fame has now been met, though Arnold reports that they are still operating under debt.
"We are going to The Strip. This is some of the finest retail space on earth, especially if you come to Las Vegas for amusement,” said Arnold. "We were gonna run out of money before we got the building done. Now we'll be able to pay all the bills, get the building done and open with only the debt we planned to have.”
This Sunday, a food truck rally fundraiser is also set to be held at the current location of the Pinball Hall of Fame, with a portion of the sales going to their cause.
If you’d like to check it out, click here for more information.
“It’s still going to be free admission, it's still going to be free parking and half our games are still going to cost a quarter,” explained Arnold. “We’re not really changing anything, we're just moving to a better space.”