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UPDATE: Florida Sheriff Demands Paperwork/Thumbprint On Game Trade-Ins

by Matt Miller on Jun 07, 2011 at 05:20 AM

In an effort to curb stolen game paraphernalia from being resold, the Okaloosa County Sheriff has slowed used game sales to a crawl. Updated with response from the Sheriff's office. [Excerpt


According to a detailed article by Gaming Console Network, several GameStop stores in Okaloosa County, Florida, are facing new hurdles in the used game market, as are county citizens hoping to sell their used games. The sheriff's department in that area is now demanding Pawn Law Service Implementation paperwork for every trade-in excange made.     

According to the article, the new requirements demand that potential used game sellers provide proper ID, a place of employment, physical description, and a thumb print before selling a copy of any game or game console. In addition, GameStop stores must then hold the items for 15 days before attempting to resell them.  The result has been dramatically slowed used game sales as potential trade-in customers refuse to participate, and as GameStop stores wait to be able to sell traded games.

The new policy applies to all GameStops in the environs of Okaloosa County, and does not extend to any areas of the country outside of that area. The new trade-in policy is not a GameStop policy, and is entirely based on strictures put into place by that local sheriff's department.

We've contacted the Okaloosa County sheriff's department for comment, and to determine if there are any plans to make adjustments to the new policy.

Thanks to reader Kevin for the heads up.


We received word back from the Okaloosa County sherriff's department on this matter. The chief of investigations had the following to share regarding the exact nature of the law in question:

1. Florida Statutes 538 and 539 cover Pawnbroking, Secondhand dealers and Metal Recyclers.
2. This specific industry “Game Stop”, falls under the category of a secondhand dealer as identified by FSS 538.03.
a. “secondhand dealer” is defined by Statue as: any person, corporation, or other business organization or entity which is not a secondary metals recycler subject to part II and which is engaged in the business of purchasing, consigning, consuming, or trading second hand goods.
3. FSS 538.04, Unless exempt under the statute, the secondhand dealer shall complete a transaction form at the time of the sale, they shall keep those records on site for 1 year and shall maintain those records for no less than 3 years.  The information such as name, dob, height weight, race, gender are all required by Florida Statute.
4. FSS 538.06, says that a secondhand dealer shall not sell, barter, exchange, alter adulterate, use or in any way dispose of any second hand goods within 15 calendar days from the date of acquisition.

We have encouraged our local Pawn Shops, Secondhand Dealers and Metal Recyclers to participate with Leads Online.  Most of the businesses in Okaloosa County have complied.  We have explained to them that they must comply with their obligations as a Shop, Secondhand Dealer and Metal Recycler.

We have started monitoring the business and are requiring that they comply with the reporting requirements (FSS 538.04) on any transactions they make with the 24 hour reporting periods.

No other information was included in the response, but the Sheriff's response seems to match most of the facts about the regulation in question presented by Gaming Console Netowork's original story. Not mentioned in the response is the issue of thumbprint identification, so the use of that practice and its necessity remains unclear . In addition, the sheriff's office made no comment in the reply to Game Informer about any intentions to adjust the law.

If you're a gamer, customer, or employee in Okaloosa County that has been affected by this regulation, we'd love to hear your thoughts or experiences on the regulation in question.

[Full disclosure: GameStop is the parent company of Game Informer]