Game over looms for Budapest pinball museum

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Visitors play in the 'Pinball Museum' in Budapest on March 14, 2015

Visitors play in the 'Pinball Museum' in Budapest on March 14, 2015 (AFP Photo/Attila Kisbenedek)

Budapest (AFP) - The owner of Europe's largest pinball museum said Wednesday he would close the facility next month after falling foul of strict regulations on gaming arcades and casinos.

Balazs Palfi, founder of the popular Pbal Gallery, which is housed in the dingy basement of a Budapest apartment building, said tax authorities were investigating him on suspicion of breaking Hungary's strict rules on revenue from gaming machines.

"This is a pre-emptive move, I cannot take the risk of a crippling fine," Palfi told AFP, adding that he would like to reach a settlement.

The tax authority was not immediately available for comment.

Palfi's museum contains over 140 working pinball machines, many of them rare pieces.

Since opening to the public last year it has become a top attraction for locals and tourists alike.

Visitors are allowed to play as long as they want for an eight-euro ($9) entrance fee.

Some protest groups on Facebook have railed against the planned closure, bemoaning the loss of what they see as a place of cultural and tourism significance rather than a gaming arcade.