Electronic Gaming Operations FAQ

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Effective January 1, 2013, the Cary Town Council will be changing its rules on Electronic Gaming Operations, also referred to as Internet Sweepstakes or Internet Cafes. 

The following is a quick summary of the new Electronic Gaming Operations, which will take effect on January 1, 2013.  If your question is not covered below or you have additional questions, please contact the Planning Department at (919) 469-4082.

Background

On October 11, 2012, the Town Council adopted an amendment to the Land Development Ordinance (LDO) to permit electronic gaming operations in certain zoning districts, subject to certain standards and spacing requirements.  This amendment to the Ordinance will go into effect on January 1, 2013.  Please note that Town Hall will not be open on January 1, 2013, because it is a holiday; thus, we will begin accepting applications on the next business day – January 2, 2013.

What Are Electronic Gaming Operations?

Electronic gaming operations have become a growing industry in North Carolina and the southeast.  They are defined in Cary’s LDO as businesses or enterprises where persons utilize electronic machines (including but not limited to computers and gaming terminals) to conduct games of chance or sweepstakes, and where cash, merchandise or anything else of value is redeemed or otherwise distributed or placed on an account or other record, whether or not the value of such distribution is determined by electronic games played or by predetermined odds. 

Electronic gaming operations may include, but are not limited to, internet cafes, internet sweepstakes, electronic gaming machines/operations, cybercafés, business centers, or by whatever other terminology such establishment might be known.  Electronic gaming operation does not include any lottery-related activity approved by the State of North Carolina.

How Does Cary Regulate Electronic Gaming Operations?

Electronic gaming operations are covered in Section 5.2.3 of the LDO. They are permitted as a primary use with an approved Zoning Compliance Permit in the following zoning districts subject to certain separation requirements:

  • General Commercial (GC),
  • Office Research & Development (ORD) within the Airport Overlay District,
  • Industrial (I), and
  • Commercial (COM) sub-district of the Town Center.   

Up to four (4) machines are permitted as an “accessory use” to any legal conforming principal use (other than an electronic gaming operation) with an approved Zoning Compliance Permit, in the General Commercial (GC) zoning district and the Commercial (COM) zoning sub-district of the Town Center. 

To find out how your property is zoned, please feel free to visit our Property Information map.

What Are The Separation Requirements Of Electronic Gaming Operations From Other Uses?

In the General Commercial (GC), Office Research & Development (ORD) within the Airport Overlay District and Industrial (I) zoning districts, electronic gaming operations must be separated by a minimum of five hundred (500) feet from any residence and/or residentially-zoned property, religious assembly, licensed day care facility, public or private school, or another electronic gaming operation.  The 500-foot distance is measured on a straight line from property line to property line, with no consideration as to intervening structures, roads, or land forms.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to verify a proposed site meets this requirement. In the Commercial (COM) zoning subdistrict of the Town Center, electronic gaming operations must only be separated by a minimum of five hundred (500) feet from another electronic gaming operation.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to verify that a proposed site meets this requirement.

There is no separation requirement for electronic gaming operations approved as an “accessory use” to any legal conforming principal use other than an electronic gaming operation in the General Commercial (GC) zoning district and the Commercial (COM) zoning sub-district of the Town Center.

How Many Electronic Gaming Machines Can I Have?

In the Commercial (GC), Office Research & Development (ORD) within the Airport Overlay District and Industrial (I) zoning districts, and the Commercial (COM) zoning subdistrict of the Town Center there are no maximum number of machines; however, the business must have sufficient parking spaces to comply with ordinance requirements.  Per Section 7.8.2 of Cary’s LDO, the parking requirement for electronic gaming operations is one (1) space per each 200 square feet , or one (1) space per every three (3) persons of maximum fire-rated capacity, or one (1) space per electronic gaming machine, whichever is greater.

As an “accessory use” to any legal conforming principal use other than an electronic gaming operation in the General Commercial (GC) zoning district and the Commercial (COM) zoning sub-district of the Town Center, a maximum of four (4) machines are permitted. 

What Do I Need To Have A Complete Zoning Compliance Permit Application?

Since January 1, 2013, is a Town Holiday, applications for Electronic Gaming Operations will be accepted beginning on January 2, 2013 and will be processed on a “first come, first served” basis starting at the beginning of the business day (8:00 AM).  Applicants should plan to enter Town Hall through the Academy Street entrance, which is closest to the location where applications may be submitted.

Applications will be reviewed in the order they are received.  Due to the separation requirements, it is possible that the approvability of subsequent applications may be affected by the initial applications that are received.

Only complete applications will be accepted by the Town.  To be considered a complete application, all information on the Zoning Compliance Permit application must be filled in.  This includes the applicant and the property owner’s information and signatures, the facility information, and the Affidavit of Compliance signed by the applicant and notarized by a public notary.  Any misrepresentation on the application or violation of the regulations may result in the revocation of an approved Zoning Compliance Permit and/or civil citations. 

Is There A Permit Fee To Have An Electronic Gaming Operation or Electronic Gaming Machines?

To have an electronic gaming operation, an approved Zoning Compliance Permit is required.  There is presently no fee for a Zoning Compliance Permit application.  Applications will be accepted beginning at 8:00 AM on January 2, 2013, and can be obtained by visiting the Town’s website at: http://www.townofcary.org/Departments/Planning_Department/Forms.htm.

What Happens After I Get Approval For My Zoning Compliance Permit?

Once approved, applicants locating in existing developments will have 180 days to obtain all necessary building permits and a valid Privilege License.  If these requirements are not fulfilled in 180 days, then the Zoning Compliance Permit will expire.  Applicants locating in new developments may request an extension in writing from the Planning Director if additional time is needed.

 

What Does Cary Charge For Privilege Licenses For Electronic Gaming Machines?

The current Privilege License fee for an electronic gaming operation is $2,500.00 per location plus $1,000.00 per machine with a maximum fee of $5,000.00.

Who Do I Call To Report An Electronic Gaming Machine That Did Not Receive An Approved Zoning Compliance Permit?

The operation of electronic gaming operation without an approved permit is a zoning violation.  You can contact your local Zoning Compliance Officer (ZCO) or the Planning Department at (919) 469-4082.

Where Can I Go To learn More About Cary’s New Ordinance?

For more information on Cary’s new electronic gaming operations Ordinance, please feel free to visit the Land Development Ordinance (LDO) or contact the Planning Department at (919) 469-4082.