Game over for ar­cade by­law?

Wood­stock coun­cil to vote on re­peal­ing ’80sera li­cens­ing mea­sure

Sentinel-Review (Woodstock) - - FRONT PAGE - bches­sell@post­ BRUCE CHESSELL

While some things from the 1980s may be retro chic, it seems the video ar­cade isn’t one of them.

In 1983, the City of Wood­stock in­tro­duced Mu­nic­i­pal Code Chap­ter 557, re­quir­ing busi­nesses with more than three ar­cade ma­chines to get a li­cence.

Deputy Clerk Chris Gauthier said the by­law tar­geted loi­ter­ing, lit­ter­ing, noise and lack of parental con­trol at amuse­ment and ar­cade es­tab­lish­ments.

“Any es­tab­lish­ment that had three or more ar­cade games would have to get an ar­cade li­cence . . . (re­quir­ing it) to be in an ap­proved lo­ca­tion and stuff like that,” Gauthier said. “But since that time, with the rise of tech­nol­ogy, ar­cades aren’t re­ally rel­e­vant any­more.”

Ar­cades were big in the 1980s and ‘90s, hot spots for young peo­ple to hang out while pump­ing quar­ters into Pac-Man or Galaga, and later Mor­tal Kom­bat or Street Fighter. But with the rise of home video game con­soles in the late ’90s, it was in­creas­ingly “game over” for ar­cades. The city hasn’t is­sued an ar­cade li­cence since 2008 and other city by­laws now cover the same ground, Gauthier said. So on Thurs­day, Wood­stock coun­cil will vote on re­peal­ing Chap­ter 557.

“Our busi­ness li­cenc­ing by­law en­sures that if some­body is go­ing to open an ar­cade with ar­cade games. they’re go­ing to have to go through the same reg­u­la­tions that other busi­nesses go through,” Gauthier said. “They would have to con­tinue to get their zon­ing checked, proof of in­sur­ance and other things (of ) that na­ture. That’s why we’re re­peal­ing it, be­cause it’s al­ready cov­ered by a dif­fer­ent by­law.”

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