This Monday, the Assembly Regulatory Oversight Committee for the State of New Jersey (the “Committee”) reported favorably on Bill A4143, which would permit holders of certain alcoholic beverage licenses to also receive amusement game licenses. If enacted, the legislation will replace a provision of the Amusement Games Licensing Law (N.J.A.C.13:3-1.7) that currently prohibits the issuance of amusement game licenses to alcoholic beverage licensees.

Which gaming businesses might be affected by Bill A4143?

New Jersey Bill A4143

In February of this year, a number of Assemblypersons introduced Bill A4143, which would allow bars, outdoor fairs and other drinking establishments to obtain amusement game licenses, provided that:

  1. the entity holds a valid plenary retail consumption license from the State;
  2. the licensed premises is at least 20,000 square feet; and
  3. the licensed premises includes at least 100 amusement games.

Assemblyman Chris Brown, a co-sponsor of the bill, has stated that the legislation is meant to bring new businesses to New Jersey such as Dave & Buster’s, a sports bar and restaurant chain that also has arcade games. Reports indicate that the restaurant chain is interested in opening locations in New Jersey.

Bill A4143 was referred to the Committee, which reported favorably in a 5-0 vote on June 15, 2015, and returned the bill to the Assembly for a second reading. An identical bill (S2514) is before the New Jersey Senate. This legislation would affect amusement parks and other venues with games on the boardwalks or at fairs, but is not applicable to casinos or racetracks, which are separately regulated.

Alcoholic Beverage and Amusement Game Licenses: They’re No Game

Bill A4143, if successfully passed into law, will open the door for Dave & Buster’s, and other businesses that combine gaming and alcohol consumption, to operate in New Jersey. Those hoping to take advantage of this new legislation should ensure that they are compliant with all of the State’s gaming and alcoholic beverage-related licensing regulations.