Q: What is a Sunday license?
A: A Sunday license is a license required for entertainment occurring on a Sunday that the public must pay a fee to attend and is part of the so-called "Blue laws.". Historically, activities that require a Sunday license include dancing or any game, sport, fair, exposition, play, entertainment or public diversion. G.L. c. 136, §4.
Q: What types of Sunday Licenses are available?
A: Sunday Licenses are either issued per event or annually. You may apply for either.. G.L. c. 136, §4.
Q: When must I apply for a Sunday license?
A: If you intend to hold an event on Sunday, you must notify the City or Town where the event will be held.
Q: What happens if I run an event (that is not otherwise exempted) without a license?
A: You may be fined for an amount up to $2,000.
Q: What must I do to file for a license?
1. First, please read through a copy of the License for Public Entertainment on Sunday. This is a form requiring information about the activity you would like to have licensed .
2. Bring the form to the office of your Town or City Chairman, Mayor, or Board of Selectman. They will complete the rest of the license and, at their discretion, will approve your event.
3. Send your application to the appropriate Town or City clerk with a check for one of the following amounts:
a. If you are applying to license a single event - $5.00
b. If you are applying for an annual license - $100.00
G.L. c. 136, §4
4. Pay your Town or City filing fee. This fee is determined by the Town or City.
Q: May I fax my application for a Sunday license to the Department?
A: No. The Department requires original documents unless specifically provided otherwise.
Q: May I drop off applications or other paperwork in person?
A: Yes. However, materials that are submitted in person are not processed the same day. They are not processed any faster than materials submitted by mail. Therefore, you are advised to submit applications and other paperwork by mail.
Q: If the entertainment I plan to run is taking place on State owned property, do I still need to file with my Town or City?
Q: If I am denied a license, can I appeal the decision?
A: Yes, under G.L. c. 136, §7A, if your Town or City has denied you the Sunday License, you may appeal to the Selectmen of your Town, or Mayor of your City. Once the license is approved at the local level, the Department is required by law to approve the application. G.L. c. 136, §4.
Q: May I renew a Sunday License if it is for the same event at the same location?
A: A Sunday License cannot be renewed. You must apply for a single event or an annual license with the City or Town where the event is to be held.
Q: Is it necessary to obtain a Sunday license for the operation of coin-operated amusement devices, such as video arcade games?
A: No, the license requirement does not apply to venues that host coin-operated "automatic amusement devices", as that term is defined in M.G.L. c. 140, §177A, accessible at www.mass.gov/legis. Automatic amusement devices exempt from the Sunday license requirement include video games, pin ball machines, and coin-operated billiard or pool tables. Juke boxes still require licensure as they do not fall within the definition of "automatic amusement devices" included in the statute.
For further information - please contact:
Division of Professional Licensure
Office of Public Safety and Inspections
1000 Washington Street, Suite 710
Boston, MA 02118