Automatic Amusement Devices

PURPOSE: To assure that the licensing of automatic amusement devices, including games and similar amusement devices, is accomplished with due regard for the general good, order and welfare of the Town.

POLICY:  The Board of Selectmen shall act upon each application for a license for automatic amusement devices based upon the particular facts of each case.  In exercising its discretion herein, the Board of Selectmen shall be guided by the following considerations, among others:

a) Whether the location is suitable.

The Board of Selectmen recognizes that Wellesley’s business districts are generally laid out in linear fashion with shallow depths along arterial roadways (as distinguished from shopping malls). Therefore, traffic, parking facilities, pedestrian flow and bicycle storage facilities are important factors to be considered when deciding on a location for activities which can be expected to generate frequent and large concentrations of persons, as might be involved in an application for an automatic amusement device.

b)  Whether the applicant is a suitable person.

c)  Whether the license should be limited in hours of operation.

In making its determinations on this issue, the Board of Selectmen has determined that, generally speaking, the general good, order and welfare of the Town is served by limiting the hours of operations of video games to between 10:00 A.M. and 10:00 P.M. in the case of persons holding Common Victualer’s Licenses, and between the hours of 10:00 A.M. to the usual hours of closing in the case of retail stores and other facilities, but not to be later than 10:00 P.M. in any case.

d)   Whether the license should be limited in the number of machines licensed at any one location.

In making its determination on this issue, the Board of Selectmen has determined that the general good, order and welfare of the Town is served, generally speaking, by limiting the number of machines licensed at any one facility to not more than three (3).  In its deliberation the Board will consult with the Building Inspector who, together with the Fire Chief (or designee), shall apply the standards contained in the State Building Code and Fire Safety Code (having to do with occupancy, loads, means of egress, etc.); the objectives being to assure free and unobstructed passage of persons in or near the facility, including those areas on the outside of the facility to which the public has right of access. The Board reserves the right to place a limitation on number as in its discretion shall serve the general good, order and welfare of the Town.

e) Whether the license would unreasonably increase the pedestrian traffic in the area in which the premises are located, or,

f) Whether the license would unreasonably increase the incidence of disruptive conduct in the area in which the premises are located, or,

g)  Whether the license would unreasonably increase the level of noise in the area in which the premises are located.

h)  Whether the proposed location will be a place of  “public amusement” (e.g. an “arcade”).

Any application received for a device to be operated in a “place of public amusement” where the principal place of business is the operation of automatic amusement devices, shall be acted upon only after compliance with Chapter 140, Section 181 of the General Laws, and a license is issued there under for a public amusement device.


PROCEDURE:  An applicant shall fill out a general license application form  with a check accompanying same covering the fee for each game requested within such application. Each applicant shall submit, with application, a drawing two scale showing the exact layout of the facility including tables, chairs, furniture, etc. (area of access).

The fee shall be $100.00 annually per machine. If a license is granted after January 1st, the fee shall be pro-rated accordingly.

The fee is subject to annual review.  

All licenses shall expire December 31st.

Each device shall be subject to this licensing policy. Each device shall be licensed.  All automatic amusement devices shall be described and such description shall include the serial number, name, and Massachusetts Identification Number (M#) for each game.

The Selectmen, upon receipt of a complaint that the holder of a license for an automatic amusement device is not in compliance with this policy and / or is allowing the licensed machines to be used in a manner contrary to the general good, order and welfare of the Town, shall cause an investigation to be undertaken following which, after written notice to the licensee, it may take action appropriate to its findings including suspension or revocation of such license.

APPLICABILITY:  This policy shall apply to all automatic amusement device applications (and renewals) hereafter submitted to the Board of  Selectmen pursuant to Chapter 140, Section 177A.