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Thrillo Inc. v. Scott

Decided: July 21, 1951.

THRILLO, INC., A NEW JERSEY CORPORATION, WILLIAM C. O'BRIEN, JR., AND THOMAS O'CONNELL, T/A SKILO, WILLIAM WOLFSON AND GEORGE RUTY, T/A RADIO AMUSEMENT CO., S. AND D. CORP., A NEW JERSEY CORPORATION, AND ABE SIMMS AND GEORGE RUTY, T/A SEASHORE AMUSEMENTS, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
LEWIS P. SCOTT, COUNTY PROSECUTOR OF THE COUNTY OF ATLANTIC, DEFENDANT



Naame, J.c.c.

Naame

The action in this cause was initiated under the Declaratory Judgments Act whereby the plaintiffs seek a declaration of their respective rights, status and other legal relations. After the filing of the complaint and the answer by the defendant, the parties agreed to stipulate the facts. The parties likewise conceded the court's jurisdiction.

The facts, as stipulated, may be summarized as follows: The plaintiff, Thrillo, Inc., operates a game known as Thrillo at 2129 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey, and holds a mercantile license issued by the City of Atlantic City which designates the game as a skill game and for which this plaintiff pays an annual license fee of $3,000. It appears, also, that this plaintiff occupies the premises under a lease for which it pays an annual rental of $13,200; that its capital investment is in the neighborhood of $30,000 and its annual payroll likewise amounts to $30,000.

The plaintiffs, William C. O'Brien, Jr., and Thomas O'Connell, trading as Skilo, operate a game known as Skilo

at 192 St. James Place, in said Atlantic City, New Jersey, and hold a mercantile license issued by the City of Atlantic City which designates the game as a skill game and for which these plaintiffs pay an annual license fee of $3,000. It appears that their capital investment is about $40,000 and their annual payroll amounts to about $74,000.

The plaintiffs, William Wolfson and George Ruty, trading as Radio Amusement Company, operate a game known as Skill-Pastime at 809 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey, and hold a mercantile license issued by the City of Atlantic City which designates the game as a skill game and for which these plaintiffs pay an annual license fee of $3,000. It appears also that these plaintiffs occupy said premises under a lease for which they pay an annual rental of $12,000; and that their capital investment is in the neighborhood of $40,000 and their annual payroll is about $57,200.

The plaintiff, S. and D. Corporation, a corporation of the State of New Jersey, operates a game known as Playo at 21 North Arkansas Avenue, Atlantic City, New Jersey, and holds a mercantile license issued by the City of Atlantic City which designates the game as a skill game and for which this plaintiff pays an annual license fee of $3,000. It appears that its capital investment is about $25,000 and its annual payroll is about $35,000.

The plaintiffs, Abe Simms and George Ruty, trading as Seashore Amusements, operate a game known as Skill-Bango at 2617 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey, and hold a mercantile license issued by the City of Atlantic City which designates the game as a skill game and for which these plaintiffs pay an annual license fee of $3,000. It appears also that these plaintiffs occupy said premises under a lease for which they pay an annual rental of $10,000 and that their capital investment is in the neighborhood of $32,000.

About June 5, 1951, the defendant received a letter from the Attorney-General of the State of New Jersey addressed to all prosecutors, in which, among other things, attention was called to the operation of certain games known as bingo

and the like, and called upon the prosecutors to ban all games of the bingo type in which the skill of the player is not the predominant factor in determining the winner. As a result of this letter, the defendant, on June 6, 1951, addressed a letter to William S. Cuthbert, Director of Public Safety of the City of Atlantic City, in which, among other things, the defendant called upon the Director of Public Safety to ban all games of chance wherein the skill of the player does not determine the result. Following this letter, each of the plaintiffs received a written notice dated June 15, 1951, signed by Meredith B. Kerstetter, Assistant Director of Public Safety, which read as follows:

"PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that I have been directed by the Prosecutor of Atlantic County to close the premises operated by you more particularly specified above, it being his opinion that your mode of operation violates the present gambling laws of the State of New Jersey.

THEREFORE, at the direction of the Atlantic County Prosecutor you are hereby notified to close your premises and desist from the further operation of the game at the aforementioned premises by no later than twelve o'clock noon of Saturday, June 16, 1951."

It is conceded that each of the games operated by the respective plaintiffs is similar to or a type of game known as bingo. The player, before participating in this game, purchases a checkerboard type of card for which he pays 25 cents for three cards and 50 cents for seven cards. The player may play any number of cards.

It is conceded that a large number of players participate in the games at one and the same time. Each game is played upon the checkerboard card on which there are five numbered squares in a straight line, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, and the numbers on each card vary and do not necessarily correspond with the numbers on any other card. Each card has a free square which is located in the center of the card and this free square is covered at the beginning of ...


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