F’ville permits more amusement machines at some restaurants

It was a brief agenda before the Fayetteville City Council Oct. 21 but it was important to at least one local restaurant that had unwittingly run afoul of a change in state law pertaining to the number of coin-operated amusement machines allowed on the property. The council adopted an ordinance designed to permit dining facilities seating more than 40 to operate more than the nine machines currently allowed by state law.

The issue centers around Senate Bill 454 that regulates and limits coin-operated amusement machines. The law became effective July 1.

“Apparently, this legislative decision had unintended consequences on several of our businesses,” said city clerk Anne Barnard in a Sept. 20 memo.

Referencing the legislation, Barnard said Section 6(b)(2) states that “Except as authorized by a local ordinance, no business owner or operator shall offer more than nine class B bona fide coin operated amusement machines to the public for play in the same business location; provided, however, that this limitation shall not apply to an amusement or recreational establishment.”

Barnard said this section impacts establishments such as Chuck E. Cheese that are classified as eating establishments rather than amusement or recreational establishments in the fact they have more than nine class B machines.

To rectify the situation, the council at the second reading of the proposed ordinance agreed to allow dining facilities with seating of 40 or more to be able to have more than nine of these machines in operation, which would protect certain eating establishments/restaurants that might fall into this category, the council said.

The vote after the second reading was unanimous.