Union City, NJ
Hudson County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the City of Union City as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Fees — See Ch. 155.
[Adopted 1-7-1997 as § 8-13 of the 1996 Revised General Ordinances, as last amended by Ord. No. 2001-11]
This article is intended to promote and protect the public health, safety, morals and general welfare and is passed in furtherance of the specific objective to properly establish, regulate and control mechanical amusement devices within the City and, in so doing, to protect the established character and the social and economic well-being of both private and public property; and to promote, in the public interest, the proper regulation of mechanical amusement devices. The purpose of this article is to license, regulate and control those mechanical amusement devices which are operated for the purpose of making a profit.
A. 
The Board of Commissioners of the City has become aware of an increase in the number of mechanical amusement device license applications; and
B. 
The Board of Commissioners of the City has been made aware of public concern regarding the increase in the number of mechanical amusement devices which have been installed throughout the City; and
C. 
There is an apparent need for additional regulations of the business of mechanical amusement devices so as to prevent the creation of nuisances to patrons and the public, fire hazards, the incidence of gambling, loitering or the creation of an unhealthy atmosphere for the youth of the community and other undesirable effects of the concentration and proliferation of such mechanical amusement devices in commercial establishments which might threaten the health, safety and welfare of this City; and
D. 
Since the passage of the original ordinance regulating mechanical amusement devices, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of mechanical amusement devices sought to be licensed.
For the purpose of this article, the following words and phrases when used herein shall be deemed to have the following meanings, except as the context may otherwise require:
AMUSEMENT PARLOR OR ARCADE
Any place wherein four or more coin-operated mechanical amusement devices are maintained for use and operation by the public.
APPLICANT
An individual applicant, a corporate applicant, any of its officers, directors or stockholders; or a partnership applicant, any of its partners or agents, representatives, attorney or manager.
DIRECTOR
The Director of the Department of Public Safety of the City of Union City, County of Hudson, State of New Jersey.
DISTRIBUTOR
Any person who supplies any mechanical amusement device to another for use in a premises, whether under lease, sale or any other arrangement.
GAMING or GAMBLING
The staking or risking of something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under the actor's control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that (s)he will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.
LICENSE
The license issued to a licensee pursuant to this article.
LICENSED PREMISES
The premises, or portion thereof, where a licensed mechanical amusement device is to be operated, used or maintained.
LICENSEE
The individual or entity obtaining a license pursuant to this article.
MECHANICAL AMUSEMENT DEVICE
The type of machine, electronic game or contrivance, including but not limited to bagatelle, baseball, hockey, football, pool table, gun, shuffle alley, bowling, pinball or pin amusement game, video game, arcade game, computer game, mechanical grab machines, marble machines, Skee Ball, or devices similar to the foregoing, which, upon the insertion of a coin, paper money, slug or token in any slot or receptacle attached to such machine or device, or connected therewith, or which by remote control, mechanical or manual means, with or without payment of a fee, operates or which may be operated for use as a game, contest or amusement in a public or quasi-public place, or in the building, store or other place which is open to the public, which provides neither prizes nor the return of any money. It shall include coin-operated video machines or games or similar devices that use a display screen for points, lines and dots of light that can be manipulated to simulate games or other types of entertainment. It shall not include, nor shall this article apply to, music-playing devices.
No person shall maintain, operate or possess in any store, building or other place which is open to the public, or in any building or other place wherein any club or organization meetings are held within the City, any mechanical amusement device without first obtaining a license therefor.
A. 
All applications and all renewals for a license under this article shall be made and delivered to the License Inspector on forms to be supplied for that purpose and shall be subscribed and sworn to by the applicant.
B. 
The application for license shall contain the following:
(1) 
Name and address of the applicant.
(2) 
Name under which the licensed premises is being operated and the location of the same.
(3) 
Number and type of alcoholic beverage licenses on the licensed premises, where applicable.
(4) 
Number and type of mechanical amusement devices sought to be licensed.
(5) 
Location where each mechanical amusement device is to be located.
(6) 
Name and address of the person from whom each mechanical amusement device is to be purchased, rented or otherwise obtained.
(7) 
Description of each mechanical amusement device sought to be licensed, including, for each such mechanical amusement device, the name of the manufacturer, model number and serial number.
(8) 
Terms of agreement governing the acquisition and installation of each such mechanical amusement device, including rates and dates.
(9) 
A statement under oath indicating whether the distributor, the applicant or any person currently connected with the operation of the licensed premises has ever been convicted of any crime or found guilty of a violation of any ordinance relating to gambling, including but not limited to, violations of N.J.S.A. 2C:37-1 et seq., or any City ordinance involving gambling or violation of this article, or a comparable offense in a different jurisdiction. With regard to those applications from corporations or partnerships, the statement under oath shall contain information about each stockholder holding 10% or more of the stock or a partner holding a 10% or greater share in the partnership.
(10) 
Any other information which the Police Chief may deem reasonably necessary and proper for the full protection of the interest of the patrons or the public.
A. 
Required. All applications for a licensed premises that is to contain four or more mechanical amusement devices shall be required to have an amusement arcade license.
B. 
Fingerprints. The license application shall be accompanied by a set of fingerprints of any person to be employed on the premises or having an interest therein, whether as owner, lessee, operator, manager or in any other capacity, however employed. In the event that the application is made by a corporation or partnership, fingerprints shall be submitted by each partner, officer and director thereof.
C. 
Investigation and inspection.
(1) 
The Chief of Police, or his/her designee, may initiate an investigation of the premises and the applicant to determine the truth of the facts set forth in the application.
(2) 
The Fire Official, or his/her designee, may inspect the premises to determine whether the premises complies with the existing fire regulations of the City.
(3) 
If such an investigation or inspection is conducted, a copy of any report or findings shall be attached to the application by the appropriate official.
D. 
Requirements.
(1) 
If an applicant requests a license for four or more mechanical amusement devices for any one location, (s)he shall provide the following:
(a) 
A minimum of one on-site, off-street parking space for each device requested.
(b) 
A uniform security guard and at least two full-time supervisory personnel who shall be on the premises at all times during the hours of operation.
(2) 
The applicant shall submit plans to the Construction Official, or other designated City official, demonstrating that the building or place where the devices are to be located is properly insulated to prevent noise of both the patrons and the devices from disturbing or entering adjacent buildings and that the location wall conform to all state noise level regulations.
(3) 
The applicant shall submit to the Chief of Police a plan demonstrating how the applicant intends to provide for change, temporary storage of any and all money and all other security (s)he intends to operate under within his/her place of business or at the location of the machines. The Chief of Police shall submit a written report to the Mayor and Commissioners commenting upon the proposed plan and indicating his/her approval or disapproval and/or recommendations.
E. 
Off-street parking.
(1) 
Each premises licensed as an arcade shall provide private off-street parking facilities of one car space, nine feet wide and 20 feet long, for every five persons, or fraction thereof, who can be accommodated in the structure at any single assemblage. For example, if the structure is determined to accommodate 100 persons, then there shall be 20 off-street private parking spaces.
(2) 
The off-street private parking spaces required in Subsection E(1) above shall be located within a two-block radius from the site of the arcade and shall be located in the City.
A. 
Any application which fails to conform to the requirements of this article or which contains any misrepresentations shall constitute sufficient grounds for the denial of the application.
B. 
Except as otherwise permitted by this article, no license required by this article shall be issued to any applicant who shall have been convicted of:
(1) 
A crime.
(2) 
A disorderly persons offense related to gambling, including but not limited to violations of N.J.S.A. 2C:37-1 et seq. or a comparable offense in a different jurisdiction.
(3) 
A violation of any City ordinance involving gambling, including but not limited to a violation of this article or any provision of this Code.
[Amended 5-21-2013]
C. 
No license required by this article shall be issued to any applicant to operate, maintain or use any mechanical amusement device in any premises or location where a violation of this article has occurred and for which violation a license has been automatically suspended or revoked pursuant to this article.
D. 
With regard to an application from corporations or partnerships an applicant wherein a stockholder holding 10% or more of the stock, or a partner holding a ten-percent or greater share in the partnerships has been convicted of a crime, disorderly persons offense related to gambling, including but not limited to violations of N.J.S.A. 2C:37-1 et seq., or any City ordinance involving gambling or violation of this article or a comparable offense in a different jurisdiction, shall be denied license.
No license shall be granted for any mechanical amusement device which is to be used for the purpose of gambling. For the purpose of this article, a mechanical amusement device, the operation of which is based in any part on random chance or the random assignment of numbers and the operation of which does not require more than minimal skill of hand-eye coordination shall be presumed to be intended to be utilized for gambling purposes. By way of clarification but not limitation, mechanical amusement devices used for the purpose of gambling shall be deemed to include, but not be limited to, the following:
A. 
Mechanical amusement devices known as Joker Poker, or any similar mechanical amusement devices displaying playing cards; keno, or any similar mechanical amusement devices displaying a number board where numbers are designated by random; horse racing; roulette; dice; Lucky Lines; Cherry Master or any similar mechanical amusement device styled after a slot machine with a rolling display or circular wheel on which are depicted symbols; lotto or lottery-type machines.
B. 
Any mechanical amusement device which does not have an operable slot or receptacle for the insertion of coin or paper money. This section shall not be deemed to prohibit devices provided at no charge by restaurants or retail establishments for the amusement of their patrons.
C. 
Any mechanical amusement device with buttons or controls labeled "double up" or "bet" or buttons or controls performing such function regardless of label.
D. 
Any mechanical amusement device which can be controlled or operated from a remote location by other than the individual operator or player.
E. 
Any mechanical amusement device readily capable of being converted by the internal technology of the mechanical amusement device to machines such as set forth in Subsection A above, including, but not limited to, "dual screen" machines.
A. 
License fees for each calendar year, or part thereof, shall be as set forth in Chapter 155, Fees.
B. 
The license fee shall not be prorated.
A. 
All licenses issued under this article shall be for a term of one year commencing January 1 and expiring on December 31 of the year of issuance.
B. 
Application for renewal of the license shall be made with the Licensing Department no later than January 1 of each year and shall be accompanied by the required annual fee, made payable to the Licensing Department, City of Union City, and the information required by § 64-5.
Any license granted pursuant to this article shall:
A. 
Be posted in a conspicuous place at the location for which the license was granted.
B. 
State the name and address of the licensee.
C. 
State the manufacturer, model number and serial number for each mechanical amusement game for which the license was issued.
Each license shall entitle the licensee to conduct the licensed business only at the location designated in the license and shall not be transferable from person to person nor from place to place. It shall be maintained only at the place and by the person designated in the license. Any licensee wishing to transfer such license shall make application to the Licensing Department in the same manner as application for an original license.
All mechanical amusement devices licensed by the City must be available at all times during licensure for internal inspection by the licensing clerk or the police. No mechanical amusement device shall be fastened, locked or secured in such a fashion that the licensee or person in charge of the licensed premises cannot immediately provide access to the internal components of such machine upon request.
A. 
Location. No mechanical amusement device shall be located in a so-called "back room" nor in any part of the licensed premises which is not open to the public.
B. 
Number. No more than three mechanical amusement devices shall be permitted under this article for any location and/or wherein such devices are to be operated, used or maintained, unless approved as an amusement parlor or arcade.
C. 
Physical limitations. The number of mechanical amusement devices that may be located in any one location shall be governed by the physical space available in any business location for the use of such devices. The following rules shall govern the location of all mechanical amusement devices within any licensed premises:
(1) 
Not more than two mechanical amusement devices shall be licensed or operated within the first 200 square feet of public floor space of any one place of business. A license may be issued for additional devices for every additional 50 square feet or four times the area of the device, whichever is greater, of public floor space. Music machines, such as jukeboxes, shall not be counted in the determination of the original two machines or devices.
(2) 
Each mechanical amusement device shall be located at least 10 feet from the entranceway to the premises in which located and placed so that it does not obstruct or interfere with the free passage to and from the premises of patrons or users of the premises.
(3) 
Each mechanical amusement device shall have an unobstructed perimeter zone or distance of three feet around the sides of the three linear borders of the device for the users of such devices. The area which is required hereunder for each machine shall not be encroached upon by the area for any other machine. It is the intent of this subsection to prevent overcrowding and assure safe passage of the general public, and each mechanical amusement device shall have its own unobstructed perimeter zone.
(4) 
A license for four or more devices in any one location shall not be granted if the location is within 1,000 feet of a public school giving instructions at least five days per week, holidays excepted, for eight or more months per year.
(5) 
An application for four or more devices shall not be granted if the location of the machines is within 1,500 feet of any of the following:
(a) 
A church or any house of worship of any religious faith.
(b) 
A nursing home.
(c) 
A rest home.
(d) 
A public library.
(e) 
A residential area or another location with four or more devices.
D. 
Operation within proscribed distances. No mechanical amusement device may be operated within the proscribed distance of a school or house of worship. This subsection shall not be construed to require the removal of any mechanical amusement devices which were in place before April 12, 1984.
A. 
Any premises which is declared to be unsafe or a fire hazard and which fails to meet the requirements for issuance of a certificate of occupancy, as set forth in a written report by the Fire Prevention Bureau, shall be deemed to be ineligible for a license.
B. 
On or after the effective date of this article, the appropriate officials of the City shall file with the License Inspector a schedule listing the name and address of each amusement parlor or arcade located within the City and listing the number of persons which can presently congregate in the structure on any single occasion in compliance with fire safety and health standards codes.
The hours of operation for any arcade licensed under this article shall be between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., except Friday and Saturday evenings of each week. On Friday and Saturday evenings, the licensed premises may remain open until 12:00 midnight. Children under the age of 16 years shall be forbidden by the licensee, his/her agents, servants or employees to play any mechanical amusement devices or other arcade games between 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. when public or parochial schools are in session.
A. 
No intoxicated or disorderly person shall be admitted to the licensed premises or permitted to remain therein. No licensee, agent or employee shall permit dispensation, consumption or bringing on to the licensed premises of any alcoholic beverage, as defined in N.J.S.A. 33:1-1 et seq., except on those premises so licensed under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, N.J.S.A. 33:1-1 et seq.
B. 
No person shall loiter or congregate within the licensed premises or on public or private property outside of and immediately adjacent to the licensed premises. Such loitering or congregation shall be considered as conducting business in a disorderly manner.
C. 
No public entrance or exit shall be locked during legal hours of operation.
D. 
No person shall be permitted on the premises licensed as an arcade other than during the hours of operation set forth herein, except those directly operating or employed on the licensed premises.
E. 
No activity which is or may be detrimental to the public health, safety, welfare or morals shall be permitted on the licensed premises.
F. 
No person shall cause noise or loudness of such nature so as to disturb the peace and quiet in, upon and around the licensed premises.
G. 
No person under the age of 18 years shall be employed in a premises licensed as an arcade.
H. 
A mechanical amusement device may only be used or operated during the hours of operation of the premises in which located and where the operator or an employee of the operator is present in the premises.
I. 
No licensee, or his/her agents, servants or employees, shall offer, permit, suffer or allow any prize, something of value or return of money on any mechanical amusement device on the licensed premises. This section shall not be deemed to prohibit any form of promise involving extension of a privilege of playing on a mechanical amusement device without charge as an award for the attainment of a certain score on that device.
No premises licensed as an arcade under the terms of this article shall be in operation unless there is in force a public liability insurance policy to cover any injuries suffered as a result of the operation of the licensed premises. Liability insurance shall be in the amount of not less than $100,000 for any one occurrence and not less than $50,000 for injury to any one person. If any such policy is canceled during the license year, immediate notification of same must be given to the City by the licensee.
A license may be suspended, revoked or not renewed by the Board of Commissioners for violation of any of the terms and provisions of this article or for any other just and good cause, provided that the licensee is served with notice of charges and given an opportunity to be heard. Good cause shall include:
A. 
Gambling on the premises.
B. 
False or incorrect material on the application or information furnished by the applicant.
C. 
Failure to maintain good and safe conduct on the premises.
D. 
Violation of the laws of the State of New Jersey, federal law or of this article or any other ordinances of the City pertaining to the operation of the licensed premises.
E. 
The presence of the machines resulting in gambling, obscene and loud language, disturbing the public or to the other patrons of the premises, creation of a nuisance, excess noise, litter, traffic or rowdyism by the patron.
F. 
A disorderly persons offense against the licensee related to gambling, including, but not limited to, violations of N.J.S.A. 2C:37-1 et seq.
G. 
Any cause which would have been cause for a rejection of the application in the first instance.
A. 
Any person whose license has been revoked pursuant to this article, after the lapse of two years from the date of conviction, may apply to the Mayor and Commissioners for an order removing the disqualification from obtaining or holding a license under this article.
B. 
Whenever any such application described in Subsection A of this section is made, and it appears to the satisfaction of the Mayor and Commissioners that at least two years have lapsed from the date of the last conviction, the applicant has conducted him/herself in a law abiding manner during that period, the granting of a license for the operation of a mechanical amusement device will not be contrary to the public interest, the Mayor and Commissioners may enter an order removing the applicant's disqualification from obtaining or holding a license under this article because of the conviction. On and after the date of the entry of such order, the person therein named shall be qualified to obtain and hold a license under this article, notwithstanding the conviction therein referred to, provided (s)he is, in all other respects, qualified under this article.
A. 
If the police, or any law enforcement officer with the authority to act within this jurisdiction, shall have probable cause to believe that a mechanical amusement device is prohibited pursuant to this article, such device may be seized, removed and impounded from the premises by the police or such other law enforcement officer, and the police or other authorized law enforcement officer shall have the right to access the internal components of such mechanical amusement device.
B. 
In order to gain access to the internal components of any mechanical amusement device seized under this article, the proprietor or distributor shall provide immediate access, or the police or law enforcement officer may gain entry by alternate means.
C. 
Written notice of any seizure pursuant to this article shall be given to the distributor or owner of such device, as designated on the device or on the license application on file with the License Inspector for the device in question. Such notice shall be mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, and regular mail to the owner or distributor at the address designated on the machine or on file with the License Inspector within two business days of seizure. Such notice shall be deemed complete upon mailing.
D. 
Any such seized mechanical amusement device shall not be released until proper ownership documents are presented and/or licensing fees, if such device is eligible for licensing, are paid, together with a removal/storage charge of $250 per device seized. If possible, those removing the device shall provide the person in charge at the place of removal with a report, to be filed with the Police Department, noting any obvious damage to the property. Thereafter, any person aggrieved thereby may petition for a hearing in writing before the Director.
E. 
If no person files a claim for return of a seized mechanical amusement device seized under this article within six months from the date of seizure, such device may be disposed of pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14-157.
A. 
Any person who violates any provision of this article shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a minimum fine of $500 per violation, with the maximum penalty not exceeding $1,000, imprisonment for 90 days or community service of 90 days. Any additional fine imposed by the court for a repeat violation of this article shall not be less than the minimum or exceed the maximum penalty set forth above.
B. 
Each day that a violation occurs or is committed shall constitute a separate offense.