United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, E.D
September 11, 1981
ERIC ROTHNER, D/B/A BELL VENDING, PLAINTIFF,
CITY OF DES PLAINES, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Leighton, District Judge.
In this civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff
challenges the constitutionality of a new Des Plaines municipal
ordinance prohibiting electronic games and automatic amusement
devices in all but licensed liquor establishments, and
prohibiting persons under 21 from operating such games or
devices without a parent or guardian present. Plaintiff Rothner
is in the business of leasing pinball games, electronic games,
and other amusement devices to businesses. He currently
maintains four electronic games in the City of Des Plaines at
two local grocery stores. Rothner's machines are licensed by
defendant, the City of Des Plaines, and the licenses expired
December 31, 1981, the effective date of the new ordinance.
The City of Des Plaines is the only defendant. It is a home
rule municipality, and has for a number of years prohibited
pinball machines within city limits, and has licensed and
otherwise regulated coin-operated amusement devices. On May
26, 1981, this court issued an ex parte temporary restraining
order enjoining enforcement of the new ordinance, No. M-15-81;
the order expired on June 5. Thereafter, the parties agreed to
submit the matter to the court on briefs. Now before the court
is defendant's motion for summary judgment. A briefing schedule
was set; but plaintiff chose to file a cross-motion for the
same relief rather than respond to defendant's summary judgment
motion. For the following reasons, defendant's motion is
granted; plaintiff's is denied; the case is dismissed.
Des Plaines plainly has authority to enact M-15-81 under
both its home rule powers and the Illinois Municipal Code.
Article 7, § 6(a) of the Illinois Constitution of 1970 states
. . [A] home rule unit may exercise any power
and perform any function pertaining to its
government and affairs, including, but not
limited to, the power to regulate for the
protection of the public health, safety, morals
and welfare; to license; . . .
Paragraph 11-42-2, Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 24 provides:
The corporate authorities of each municipality
may license, tax, regulate, or prohibit pinball,
or bowling alleys, billiard, bagatelle,
pigeonhole, pool, or any other tables or
implements kept for a similar purpose in any
place of public resort.
Illinois courts have, in several instances, reviewed Paragraph
11-42-2, as well as municipal ordinances adopted thereunder,
and have found that municipalities may properly regulate and
prohibit such machines. See e.g., Hagen v. City of Rock Island,
18 Ill.2d 174
, 163 N.E.2d 495
(1960); Leisuretime Recreation
Center v. Byrne, 93 Ill.App.3d 489, 48 Ill.Dec. 926,
417 N.E.2d 658
(1st Dist. 1981).
The purpose of restricting coin-operated games to liquor
establishments, and of prohibiting minors from operating the
games without parents or guardians present, is clearly for the
protection of minors. It is, of course, well within the home
rule and statutory powers of the City of Des Plaines to
protect minors from coin-operated games. Indeed, although the
municipality has the authority to ban such games entirely, it
chose to ban only pinball, and prohibit unaccompanied minors
from access to such games. In Aladdin's Castle v. Village of
North Riverside, 66 Ill.App.3d 542, 23 Ill. Dec. 289,
383 N.E.2d 1316 (1st Dist. 1978), the Illinois Appellate Court
upheld an ordinance similar to the one at issue here; this
court finds Aladdin's Castle to be dispositive of the pertinent
issues presented by the cross-motions.
Because it is plain that the ordinance complained of is
constitutional on its face, this court does not reach the
question of standing. Therefore, for these reasons,
plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is
denied; the motion of Des Plaines is granted, and the case is
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