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'Dave & Buster's bill' is now law

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Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill Monday that would allow businesses to hold both a liquor license and a license to operate amusement games, paving the way for the state to attract national restaurant and entertainment chain Dave & Buster's.

Businesses have been prohibited from simultaneously holding both licenses under a 1959 law. The new law will now make it possible for a business to hold both permits as long as the operating facility is at least 20,000 square feet and offers a minimum of 100 amusement games.

The size provisions built into the law are a clear nod to the popular chain, which is reportedly eyeing entry into the New Jersey market and had previously unsuccessfully attempted to secure a waiver to operate from the Games of Chance Control Commission.

“The only thing that was standing between a multimillion-dollar job creator like Dave and Buster’s — which is interested in opening multiple locations here as soon as possible — and the state of New Jersey was one outdated law,” said bill sponsor Assemblyman Joseph Lagana (D-Paramus). “No other state in the country had that ban, and the bottom line is that it simply made New Jersey less competitive. This new law helps make our state more business-friendly and opens the door to new jobs.”

Lagana said that neighboring states like New York and Pennsylvania have been collecting millions in tax revenue from their multiple Dave & Buster’s locations.

“New Jersey ought to be welcoming companies that want to establish themselves here, not keeping up a decades-old barrier to new businesses, jobs and tax revenues,” said Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-Jersey City), also a bill sponsor. “Repealing this one prohibition will create jobs, enable us to compete with neighboring states, make New Jersey more attractive to these employers and offer additional options for consumers.”  

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