Wildwood, NJ Boardwalk Operator Banned, Fined for Rigging Games

by Tom Lavecchia
crooked basketball games wildwood nj

Christine Strothers, the amusement operator on the Wildwood, NJ boardwalk who was recently fined for running a rigged game, is once again in the spotlight. This time, she is being accused of inflating basketballs to a higher pressure than usual—three times higher, to be exact—making it more difficult for players to win games. This led to a $15,500 fine and a 10-year ban from organizing these types of games, according to New Jersey authorities.

Basketball is one of the most popular games on the boardwalk, with players of all ages trying their hand at sinking a shot in exchange for a prize. However, some customers have reported that the basketballs are overinflated, making them harder to shoot and increasing the chances of the ball bouncing out of the hoop. That’s right, inflate-gate is back.

Boardwalk games are already notoriously hard to win. With an added obstacle, winning becomes nearly impossible. By inflating the basketballs, Strothers is able to increase the odds of the player losing even more. Of course, Strothers denies the allegations, claiming that the basketballs are inflated to the same pressure as normal. She says that the difficulty level of the game is part of the challenge and that players should not expect to win every time.

Wildwood Boardwalk

However, many customers disagree. They say that they have played the game for years and have never had as much trouble as they do now. Some have even compared the experience to trying to shoot a rock through the hoop.

This new controversy comes on the heels of the Water Race incident, in which Strothers was fined for running a rigged game. It has once again raised questions about the role of amusement operators on the Wildwood boardwalk and the need for increased oversight to ensure that customers are not being taken advantage of.

The Wildwood boardwalk is a beloved destination for families and tourists, and it is important that it maintains a reputation as a safe and fair place to have fun. While most amusement operators are honest and provide a fun experience for their customers, there are always a few bad actors who try to cheat their way to profits.


The accusations of overinflated basketballs at Christine Strothers’ game on the Wildwood boardwalk highlight the need for increased oversight and regulation of amusement operators. Customers deserve to have a fair chance at winning games, and operators who engage in fraudulent practices should be held accountable. It is up to the state to ensure that the boardwalk remains a fun and safe destination for families for years to come.

Crooked basketball games on the New Jersey boardwalk have become a serious issue that needs to be addressed. Next time you have trouble winning that teddy bear, ask yourself: Is this game rigged?

About the Author/s

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Tom is a lifelong New Jersey resident, Rutgers and FDU alumni and the publisher of The Digest.

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Linda Hoogkamp February 20, 2023 - 1:06 pm

I’ve read some articles and I have to say when I would take my twins to 6 flags in Ny and no, we would play some games and the basketball game is hard. I would say this game is rigged somehow. Obviously that was many years ago, so when I read Tom’s article about the board walk with that game, I was like I knew it. Great article Tom.

Carl February 23, 2023 - 1:27 pm

Good reporting. This is a funny story. It brings back a lucid memory of a night I had down in Seaside. It was at the “Break-a-Plate” stand. I was with my wife and a close friend. When my friend spotted a huge stuffed Popeye, he said, “Try winning that!” I happen to have an accurate arm, so off we went. The operator gave me three balls. I skated at the shelves of plates, selected my targets–three adjacent plates chest high–and let loose. SMASH! SMASH! SMASH! in rapid succession. The operator mumbling “HOLY SH–!” under his breath. When I ask for another three balls I was told I can’t play the game again. Not wanting to make a scene (people were gathering because they heard the plates smashing so fast), I took the little Popeye and we walked away. Always wondered what would have happened if I challenged the operator. On what grounds was I disqualified?

Maureen February 23, 2023 - 11:12 pm

I think most of us always had an inkling as to these games being rigged. Now if we can find out which ones and most certainly the particular games that Christine Strothers owns ans runs……….we would all be happy. She’s a greedy miserable person to do this. Karma Christine Strothers………..karma.


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