The amended legislation, which was supported by AMOA-NY, passed the New York City Council by a vote of 49 to 1 on Dec. 21. The mayor signed it into law on Dec. 28. The local trade association has been working on changing the legislation for more than a year. In November 2008, councilmembers on the Committee on Consumer Affairs, chaired by Democrat Leroy Comrie, heard testimony from industry officials about the benefits of changing the administrative code limiting the number of games in a location.
At the hearing a year ago, Betson's Rick Kirby succinctly summarized the issue by informing committee members that changing the law would allow vendors to better compete with consumer entertainment choices, help the industry create more jobs and generate more taxable income for the city. See the Full Story
AMOA-NY president Ken Goldberg, PLK Vending (Woodside, NY), described the effort to pass the law as "herculean," and expects it to improve business for operators, distributors, manufacturers and location clients.
According to AMOA-NY's chief counsel, Cary Kessler, the amended law is the first major change for machine operators in the city in a long time. "The signing on Monday was a momentous event," Kessler told VT.
The law also has some restrictions, Kessler advised. It restricts, for instance, anyone under 18 years old from entering a premise that has more than four and fewer than 10 games between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on schooldays. It also forbids the placement of games in locations within 200 ft. of public and private elementary and secondary schools, a clause carried over from the old law.
The new arcade licensing law goes into effect on March 28, 2010.
The revision in the arcade licensing law follows another victory for New York City operators. In July 2007, Bloomberg signed into law a measure enacted by the City Council that increases the number of pool tables -- from one to two -- that can be installed in a location without a billiard room license. The city's original "pocket billiard" legislation was created more than a century ago, when pool halls were common in large cities and before the invention of coin-operated tables in the 1950s, and provided no clear guidelines that distinguished billiard rooms from other locations.