City of Rensselaer, NY
Rensselaer County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Rensselaer 2-15-1978 by L.L. No. 2-1978. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Alcoholic beverages — See Ch. 69.
Amusement devices — See Ch. 73.
Bingo — See Ch. 81.

§ 109-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
AUTHORIZED GAMES OF CHANCE LESSOR
An authorized organization which has been granted a lessor's license pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
AUTHORIZED ORGANIZATION
Includes any bona fide religious or charitable organization or bona fide educational or service organization or bona fide organization of veterans or volunteer firemen which, by its charter, certificate of incorporation, constitution or Act of the Legislature, shall have among its dominant purposes one or more of the lawful purposes defined in this chapter, provided that each shall operate without profit of its members, and provided that each such organization has engaged in serving one or more of the lawful purposes as defined in this chapter for a period of three years immediately prior to applying for a license under this chapter. No organization shall be deemed an authorized organization which is formed primarily for the purpose of conducting games of chance and the distribution of the proceeds thereof to itself or any other organization and which does not devote at least 75% of its activities to other purposes set forth in this section. No political party shall be deemed an authorized organization.
AUTHORIZED SUPPLIER OF GAME OF CHANCE EQUIPMENT
Any person, firm, partnership or organization licensed by the Board to sell or lease games of chance equipment or paraphernalia which meets the specifications and regulations established by the Board. Nothing herein shall prevent an authorized organization from purchasing common articles, such as cards and dice, from normal sources of supply of such articles or from constructing equipment and paraphernalia for games of chance for its own use. However, no such equipment or paraphernalia constructed by an authorized organization shall be sold or leased to any other authorized organization without written permission from the Board.
BOARD
The New York State Racing and Wagering Board.
CLERK
The City Clerk of the City of Rensselaer.
GAMES OF CHANCE
Includes specific games of chance in which prizes are awarded on the basis of a designated winning number or numbers, color or colors, symbol or symbols determined by chance, but not including games commonly known as "bingo" or "lotto," as controlled by Article 14-H of the General Municipal Law, "slot machines," "bookmaking" and "policy or numbers games" as defined in § 225.00 of the Penal Law. No games of chance shall involve wagering of money by one player against the other.
LAWFUL PURPOSE
One or more of the following causes, deeds or activities:
A. 
Those which shall benefit needy or deserving persons, indefinite in number, by enhancing their opportunity for religious or educational advancement, by relieving them from disease, suffering or distress or by contributing to their physical well-being by assisting them in establishing themselves in life as worthy and useful citizens or increasing their comprehension of and devotion to the principals upon which this nation was founded and enhancing their loyalty to their governments.
B. 
Those which shall initiate, perform or foster worthy public works or shall enable or further the erection or maintenance of public structures.
C. 
Those which shall otherwise lessen the burdens borne by government or which are voluntarily undertaken by an authorized organization to augment or supplement services which government would normally render to the people.
LICENSED PERIOD
A period of time not to exceed 14 consecutive hours.
NET LEASE
A written agreement between a lessor and lessee under the terms of which the lessee is entitled to the possession, use or occupancy of the whole or part of any premises from any noncommercial or nonprofit organization for which the lessee pays rent to the lessor and likewise undertakes to pay substantially all of the regularly recurring expenses incident to the operation and maintenance of such premises.
A. 
In relation to the gross receipts from one or more occasions of games of chance, the amount that shall remain after deducting the reasonable sums necessarily and actually expenses for supplies and equipment, prizes, stated rental, if any, bookkeeping or accounting services according to a schedule of compensation prescribed by the Board, janitorial services and utility supplies, if any, license fees and the cost of bus transportation, if authorized by the Division; and
B. 
In relation to the gross rent received by an organization licensed to conduct such games for the use of its premises by another licensee, the amount that shall remain after deducting the reasonable sums necessarily and actually expenses for janitorial services and utility supplies directly attributable thereto, if any.
OFFICER
The Chief of Police.
ONE OCCASION
The conducting of any type of game of chance during any one license period. No series of prizes on any one occasion shall aggregate more than $1,000.
PRIZE
A sum of money or item or merchandise awarded by the authorized organization to a participant in any one operation or conducting of a game of chance in which participants utilize currency for participation and in which those who are not winners surrender their participation currency at the conclusion of the single operation of such game of chance. No prize for any one participant in any one operation or conducting of such single game of chance shall exceed the sum of $100. If a prize is awarded based on odds, only that portion in excess of the winning participant's bet shall be considered the prize. For the purposes of this section, the value of the prize which consists of merchandise shall be the actual cost of the item of such merchandise.

§ 109-2 Authorization.

It shall be lawful for any authorized organization, upon obtaining a license as hereinafter provided, to conduct games of chance within the territorial limits of the City of Rensselaer subject to the provisions of this chapter, the provisions of Article 9-A of the General Municipal Law and subject to the regulations of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.

§ 109-3 Restrictions.

The games of chance authorized by this chapter shall be subject to the following restrictions:
A. 
No person, firm, association, corporation or organization, other than a licensee under the provisions of this chapter, shall conduct such games or shall lease or otherwise make available for conducting games of chance a hall or other premises for any consideration whatsoever, direct or indirect, except as provided in § 109-4 of this chapter.
B. 
No games of chance shall be held, operated or conducted on or within any leased premises if rental under such lease is to be paid, wholly or partly, on the basis of a percentage of the receipts or net profits derived from the operation of such games.
C. 
No authorized organization under the provisions of this chapter shall purchase or receive any supplies or equipment specifically designed or adapted for use in the conduct of games of chance from other than a supplier licensed by the Board or from another authorized organization.
D. 
The entire net proceeds of any game of chance and of any rental shall be exclusively devoted to the lawful purposes of the organization permitted to conduct the same.
E. 
No prize shall exceed the sum or value of $100 in any operation or conducting of a single game of chance. No single wager shall exceed $10.
F. 
No series of prizes on any one occasion of games of chance shall aggregate more than $1,000.
G. 
No person, except a bona fide member of any such organization, its auxiliary or affiliated organization shall participate in the management or operation of such game.
H. 
No person shall receive any remuneration for participating in the management or operation of any such game.
I. 
The unauthorized conduct of a game of chance shall constitute and be punishable as a misdemeanor.

§ 109-4 License applications.

A. 
To conduct games of chance.
(1) 
Each applicant for a license shall, after obtaining an identification number from the Board, file with the City Clerk a written application therefor in a form to be prescribed by the Board, duly executed and verified, in which shall be stated:
(a) 
The name and address of the applicant, together with sufficient facts relating to its incorporation and organization to enable the Clerk to determine whether or not it is a bona fide authorized organization.
(b) 
The names and addresses of its officers; the place or places where, the date or dates and the time or times when the applicant intends to conduct games under the license applied for.
(c) 
The amount of rent to be paid or other consideration to be given, directly or indirectly, for each occasion for use of the premises of another authorized organization licensed to conduct such games or for the use of the premises of an authorized games of chance lessor.
(d) 
All other items of expense intended to be incurred or paid in connection with the holding, operating and conducting of such games of chance and the names and addresses of the persons to whom, and the purposes for which, they are to be paid.
(e) 
The purposes to which the entire net proceeds of such games are to be devoted and in what manner, that no commission, salary, compensation, reward or recompense will be paid to any person for conducting such game or games or for assisting therein except as otherwise provided in Article 9-A of the General Municipal Law, and such other information as shall be prescribed by such rules and regulations.
(2) 
In each application there shall be designated not fewer than four active members of the applicant organization under whom the game or games of chance will be conducted, and to the application shall be appended a statement executed by the members so designated that they will be responsible for the conduct of such games in accordance with the terms of the license and the rules and regulations of the Board and this chapter and Article 9-A of the General Municipal Law.
B. 
Authorized games of chance lessor. Each applicant for a license to lease premises to a licensed organization for the purposes of conducting games of chance therein shall file with the Clerk a written application therefor in a form to be prescribed by the Board, duly executed and verified, which shall set forth the name and address of the applicant, designation and address of the premises intended to be covered by the license sought, a statement that the applicant in all respects conforms to the specifications contained in the definition of "authorized organization" and such other information as shall be prescribed by the Board.

§ 109-5 Investigation; license issuance; fees to state; term.

A. 
The Clerk shall make an investigation of the qualifications of each applicant and the merits of each application, with due expedition after the filing of the application.
B. 
Issuance.
(1) 
Issuance of licenses to conduct games of chance. If such Clerk shall determine that the applicant is fully qualified to be licensed to conduct games of chance; that the member or members of the applicant designated in the application to conduct games of chance are bona fide active members of the applicant and are persons of good moral character and have never been convicted of a crime or, if convicted, have received a pardon or a certificate of good conduct; that such games are to be conducted in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and Article 9-A of the General Municipal Law and in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Board; and that the proceeds thereof are to be disposed of as provided by law; and if such Clerk is satisfied that no commission, salary, compensation, reward or recompense whatever will be paid or given to any person holding, operating or conducting or assisting in the holding, operation and conduct of any such games, except as otherwise provided by law; and that no prize will be given in excess of the sum or value of $100 in any single game; and that the aggregate of all prizes given on one occasion under said license shall not exceed the sum or value of $1,000, it shall issue a license to the applicant for the conduct of games of chance upon payment of a license fee of $25 for each license period.
(2) 
Issuance of licenses to authorized games of chance lessors. If such Clerk shall determine that the applicant seeking to lease a hall or premises for the conduct of games of chance to an authorized organization is duly qualified to be licensed; that the applicant satisfies the requirements for an authorized games of chance lessor; that such Clerk shall find and determine that there is a public need and that public advantage will be served by the issuance of such license; that the applicant has filed its proposed rent for each game of chance occasion; that there is no diversion of the funds of the proposed lessee from the lawful purposes; and that such leasing of a hall or premises for the conduct of such games is to be in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and Article 9-A of the General Municipal Law and in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Board, it shall issue a license permitting the applicant to lease said premises for the conduct of such games to the authorized organization or organizations specified in the application during the period therein specified or such shorter period as such Clerk shall determine, but not to exceed one year, upon payment of license fee of $50.
C. 
On or before the 30th day of each month, the City Treasurer shall transmit to the State Comptroller a sum equal to 50% of all authorized games of chance lessor license fees and the sum of $15 per license period for the conduct of games of chance collected by such Clerk pursuant to this section during the preceding calendar month.
D. 
No license shall be issued which shall be effective for a period of more than one year.

§ 109-6 Hearing; amendments.

A. 
No application for the issuance of a license to an authorized organization shall be denied by the Clerk until after a hearing, held on due notice to the applicant, at which the applicant shall be entitled to be heard upon the qualifications of the applicant and the merits of the application.
B. 
Any license issued may be amended, upon the application made to such Clerk which issued it, if the subject matter of the proposed amendment could lawfully and properly have been included in the original license and upon payment of such additional license fee, if any, as would have been payable if it had been so included.

§ 109-7 Form and contents of license; display.

A. 
Each license to conduct games of chance shall be such form as shall be prescribed in the rules and regulations promulgated by the Board and shall contain a statement of the name and address of the licensee, of the names and addresses of the member or members of the licensee under whom the games will be conducted, of the place or places where and the date or dates and time or times when such games are to be conducted and of the purposes to which the entire net proceeds of such games are to devoted; if any prize or prizes are to be given in cash, a statement of the amounts of the prizes authorized so to be given; and any other information which may be required by said rules and regulations to be contained therein, and each license for the conduct of any games shall be conspicuously displayed at the place where same is to be conducted at all times during the conduct thereof.
B. 
Each license to lease premises for conducting games of chance shall be in such form as shall be prescribed in the rules and regulations of the Board and shall contain a statement of the leased premises, the name and address of the licensee, the amount of permissible rent and any information which may be required by said rules and regulations to be contained therein, and each such license shall be conspicuously displayed upon such premises at all times during the conduct of games of chance.

§ 109-8 Control and supervision; penalties for offenses; alcoholic beverages.

A. 
The Chief of Police shall have and exercise rigid control and close supervision over all games of chance conducted under such license, to the end that the same are fairly conducted in accordance with the provisions of such license, the provisions of the rules and regulations promulgated by the Board and the provisions of this chapter and Article 9-A of the General Municipal Law, and such Commissioner and the Board shall have the power and the authority to temporarily suspend any license issued by the Clerk, pending a hearing, and, after notice and hearing, the Board may suspend or revoke the same and, additionally, impose a fine in an amount not exceeding $1,000 for violation of any such provisions and shall have the right of entry, by their respective officers and agents, at all times into any premises where any game of chance is being conducted or where it is intended that any such game shall be conducted or where any equipment being used or intended to be used in the conduct thereof is found, for the purpose of inspecting the same.
B. 
Service of alcoholic beverages. Subject to the applicable provisions of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, beer may be offered for sale during the conduct of games of chance, but the offering of all other alcoholic beverages is prohibited.

§ 109-9 Conduct prohibited on certain days.

No games of chance shall be conducted on Easter Sunday, Christmas Day or New Year's Eve.

§ 109-10 Participation by minors prohibited.

No person under the age of 18 years shall be permitted to play any game or games of chance conducted pursuant to any license issued under this chapter. No person under the age of 18 years shall be permitted to conduct or assist in the conduct of any game of chance conducted pursuant to any license issued under this chapter.

§ 109-11 Frequency and hours of games.

No game or games of chance shall be conducted under any license issued under this chapter more often than 12 times in any calendar year. Games shall be conducted only between the hours of 12:00 noon and 12:00 midnight on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and only between the hours of 12:00 noon on Friday and 2:00 a.m., Saturday, and only between the hours of 12:00 noon Saturday and 2:00 a.m. on Sunday. The 2:00 a.m. closing period shall also apply to a legal holiday.

§ 109-12 Persons conducting games; equipment; expenses; compensation.

No person shall hold, operate or conduct any games of chance under any license issued under this chapter except an active member of the authorized organization to which the license is issued, and no person shall assist in the holding, operating or conducting of any game of chance under such license except such an active member or a member of an organization or association which is an auxiliary to the licensee or a member of an organization or association of which such licensee is an auxiliary or member of an organization or association which is affiliated with the licensee, he being, with it, auxiliary to another organization or association. No game of chance shall be conducted with any equipment except such as shall be owned or leased by the authorized organization so licensed or used without payment of any compensation therefor by the licensee. At least two officers, directors, trustees or clergy of the authorized organization shall, upon request, certify, under oath, that the persons assisting in holding, operating or conducting any game of chance are bona fide members of such authorized organization, auxiliary or affiliated organization. Upon request by the Commissioner of Public Safety, any such person involved in such games of chance shall certify that he or she has no criminal record. No items of expense shall be incurred or paid in connection with the conducting of any game of chance pursuant to any license issued under this chapter except those that are reasonable and are necessarily expenses for games of chance supplies and equipment, prizes, stated rental, if any, bookkeeping or accounting services according to a schedule of compensation prescribed by the Board, janitorial services and utility supplies, if any, and license fees and the cost of bus transportation, if authorized by such officer or department.

§ 109-13 Admission charge; prizes.

Not more than $2 shall be charged by a licensee for admission to any room or place in which any game or games of chance are to be conducted. The Chief of Police may, in his discretion, fix a minimum fee. Every winner shall be determined and every prize shall be awarded and delivered within the same calendar day as that upon which the games were played. No alcoholic beverage shall be offered or given as a prize in any game of chance.

§ 109-14 Advertising.

No game of chance conducted or to be conducted in the City of Rensselaer shall be advertised as to its location, the time when it is to be or has been played or the prizes awarded or to be awarded or transportation facilities to be provided to such game, by means of newspapers, radio, television or sound trucks or by means of billboards, posters or handbills, or any other means addressed to the general public, except that one sign not exceeding 60 square feet in area may be displayed on or adjacent to the premises owned or occupied by the licensed authorized organization, and when an organization is licensed to conduct games of chance on premises of an authorized games of chance lessor, one additional such sign may be displayed on or adjacent to the premises in which the games are to be conducted. Additional signs may be displayed upon any fire-fighting equipment belonging to any licensee which is a volunteer fire company or upon any first-aid or rescue squad in and throughout the community or communities served by such volunteer fire company or such first-aid or rescue squad, as the case may be.

§ 109-15 Statements of receipts and expenses; additional license fee.

A. 
Within seven days after the conclusion of any license period, the authorized organization which conducted the game and its members who were in charge thereof and, when applicable, the authorized organization which rented its premises therefor shall each furnish to the Clerk a statement subscribed by the member in charge and affirmed by him as true, under the penalty of perjury, showing the amount of the gross receipts derived therefrom and each item of expense incurred or paid and each item of expenditure made or to be made other than prizes; the names and address of each person to whom each such item of expense has been paid or is to be paid, with a detailed description of the merchandise purchased or the services rendered therefor; the net proceeds derived from the conduct of games of chance during such license period; and the use to which such proceeds have been or are to be applied and a list of prizes offered and given, with the respective values thereof, and it shall be the duty of each licensee to maintain and keep such books and records as may be necessary to substantiate the particulars of each such statement.
B. 
Upon the filing of such statement of receipts, the authorized organization furnishing the same shall pay to the Clerk, as and in an additional license fee, a sum based upon the reported net proceeds, if any, for the license period covered by such statement and determined in accordance with such schedule as shall be established from time to time by the Board to defray the actual cost of the City of Rensselaer administering this chapter, but such additional license fee shall not exceed 5% of the net proceeds for such occasion.

§ 109-16 Examination of books and records; examination of officers and employees; disclosure of information.

A. 
The Clerk and the Board shall have power to examine or cause to be examined the books and records of:
(1) 
Any authorized organization which is or has been licensed to conduct games of chance, so far as they may relate to games of chance, including the maintenance, control and disposition of net proceeds derived from games of chance or from the use of its premises for games of chance, and to examine any manager, officer, director, agent, member or employee thereof, under oath, in relation to the conduct of any such game under any such license, the use of its premises for games of chance or the disposition of net proceeds derived from games of chance, as the case may be.
(2) 
Any authorized games of chance lessor, so far as they may relate to leasing premises for games of chance, and to examine said lessor or any manager, officer, director, agent or employee thereof, under oath, in relation to such leasing.
B. 
Any information so received shall not be disclosed except so far as may be necessary for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this chapter or Article 9-A of the General Municipal Law.

§ 109-17 Appeals to Board.

Any applicant for or holder of any license issued or to be issued under this chapter, aggrieved by any action of an officer or Clerk to which such application has been made or by which such license has been issued, may appear to the Board from the determination of said officer or Clerk as authorized by § 195-h of the General Municipal Law.

§ 109-18 Exemption from prosecution.

No person, association, corporation or organization lawfully conducting or participating in the conduct of games of chance or permitting the conduct upon any premises owned or leased by him under any license lawfully issued shall be liable to prosecution or conviction for violation of any provision of Article 225 of the Penal Law or any other law or ordinance to the extent that such conduct is specifically authorized by this chapter or Article 9-A of the General Municipal Law, but this immunity shall not extend to any person or corporation knowingly conducting or participating in the conduct of games of chance under any license or otherwise or permitting the conduct upon any premises owned or leased by him or if any game of chance conducted under any license known to him or it to have been obtained by such false pretense or statement.

§ 109-19 Forfeiture of license; ineligibility to apply for license.

Any person, association, corporation or organization who or which shall make any material false statement in any application for any license authorized to be issued under this chapter; pay or receive, for the use of any premises for conducting games of chance, a rental in excess of the amount specified as the permissible rent in the license; fail to keep such books and records as shall fully and truly record all transactions connected with the conducting of games of chance or the leasing of premises to be used for the conduct of games of chance; falsify or make any false entry in any books or records so far as they relate in any manner to the conduct of games of chance, to the disposition of the proceeds thereof and to the application of the rents received by any authorized organization; or divert or pay any portion of the net proceeds of any game of chance to any person, association or corporation, except in furtherance of one or more of the lawful purposes defined in this chapter, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall forfeit any license issued under this chapter and be ineligible to apply for a license under this chapter for at least one year thereafter.

§ 109-20 Conditions to operate lawfully.

Any person, association, corporation or organization holding, operating or conducting a game or games of chance is guilty of a misdemeanor, except when operating, holding or conducting:
A. 
In accordance with a valid license issued pursuant to this chapter; or
B. 
On behalf of a bona fide organization of persons 60 years of age or over, commonly referred to as "senior citizens," solely for the purpose of amusement and recreation of its members where:
(1) 
The organization has applied for and received an identification number from the Board;
(2) 
No player or other person furnished anything of value for the opportunity to participate;
(3) 
The prizes awarded or to be awarded are nominal;
(4) 
No person other than a bona fide active member of the organization participates in the conduct of the games; and
(5) 
No person is paid for conducting or assisting in the conduct of the game or games.

§ 109-21 Amendments; repeal.

This chapter may be amended, from time to time, or repealed by the City Council by a two-thirds vote, such amendment or repeal, as the case may be may be, made effective and operative not earlier than 30 days following the date of enactment of the local law or ordinance effecting such amendment or repeal, as the case may be; and the approval of a majority of the electors of such municipality shall not be a condition prerequisite to the taking effect of such local law or ordinance.

§ 109-22 Severability.

If any provision or application of this chapter or of Chapter 960 of the Laws of 1976[1] to any municipality, person or circumstances shall be adjudged unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this chapter or the application of Chapter 960 of the Laws of 1976 to other municipalities, persons and circumstances shall not be affected thereby, and the Council hereby declares that it would have enacted this chapter without the invalid provision or application, as the case may be, had such invalidity been apparent.
[1]
Editor's Note: See General Municipal Law § 186 et seq.