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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 90989 Find in a Library
Title: Trouble in Outer Galactica - The Police Power, Zoning, and Coin-Operated Videogames
Journal: Syracuse Law Review  Volume:34  Issue:2  Dated:(Spring 1983)  Pages:453-515
Author(s): E H Ziegler
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 63
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Although courts are unlikely to consider coin-operated video games to be a form of nonverbal expression protected by the first amendment, local zoning, districting, and location restrictions on the commercial use of video games will probably be held constitutional and within the authority of a typical State zoning enabling act.
Abstract: However, local zoning ordinances imposing age restrictions or operating requirements on video game arcades will be held valid only where reviewing courts take the position of the courts in New York and New Jersey and reject the traditional judicial view that a zoning enabling statute authorizes only restrictions that relate directly to the physical use of land. Nevertheless, no State has expressly preempted local regulation of coin-operated video games. State courts may allow the games to be regulated, but not prohibited, unless the operation of the games would constitute a nuisance. Experts disagree about whether the repeated use of the games is psychologically harmful to young people; local communities are concerned about students spending lunch money on the games and about truancy, gambling, and juvenile delinquency. However, ordinances embodying these concerns can be challenged on due process and equal protection grounds. Another constitutional issue is whether the regulation of video games limits the fundamental right of young persons to social association. Although one court used the social association rationale, other courts will probably rule otherwise on the grounds that playing video games does not constitute a value of the first amendment. Local communities have experienced legal problems in regulating coin-operated video games by failing to draft ordinances carefully. A total of 366 reference notes are provided.
Index Term(s): Juvenile delinquency prevention; Municipal ordinances; Recreation; Victimless crimes; Zoning ordinances
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