What is an Adult-Oriented Retail Establishment?

An Adult-Oriented Retail Establishment is any commercial establishment, business or service, or portion thereof, that offers as a substantial portion of its business sexually oriented material, devices or paraphernalia but that does not allow on-site displays of sexually oriented materials or sexual activities (24 Del. C. §1602 (3)).  Substantial portion means either

  • 50% or more of the retail floor open to the public, or
  • 50% or more of the gross receipts.

For more information, see Section 2.0 of the Rules and Regulations.

Requirements for All Applications

The form and procedure are the same for a new license as for renewing an existing, active license except where noted in the instructions below.

  • Submit completed, signed and notarized Application for Adult-Oriented Retail Establishment License.
    • The person who is responsible for submitting the application and who must appear personally depends on the type of business, as follows:

      IF the establishment is a…

      THEN the responsible person is…

      Sole proprietorship

      the sole proprietor.

      Corporation

      a director of the corporation.

      Partnership or other unincorporated association

      general partner or member on behalf of the association.


    • Applications that are unsigned, incomplete, not notarized or not accompanied by the required fee will be rejected.
    • In addition to submitting the application, the responsible person must appear personally before the Commission.  During that appearance, he or she will sign the Affidavit of Applicant to attest to the truthfulness of the information provided on the application (24 Del. C. §1615).

  • Enclose processing fee by check or money order made payable to “State of Delaware”

  • Enclose Letters of Clearance from the county to establish that the establishment complies with all applicable land use (zoning) requirements.
    • If you are filing an application to renew an active establishment license where compliance with land use requirements was previously established, you may submit an affidavit (notarized statement) in lieu of Letters of Clearance. The affidavit must state that nothing has changed with regard to the establishment’s location and zoning.

  • Enclose copies of all state/city business licenses, including state Division of Revenue license.

  • If the business is a corporation, submit a copy of the Certificate of Incorporation certified by the Secretary of State of the state of incorporation.
    • If the corporate owner is a foreign corporation, submit a copy of the certificate prescribed by Del. C. §371 (c),

  • Submit Certificate of Individual forms completed and signed by the following persons:
    • Person responsible for submitting application and appearing personally before the Commission.
    • Manager who will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business.
    • Each employee of the business
    • If the business is a corporation, each director, officer and principal stockholder of the corporation.
    • If the business is a partnership or unincorporated association, each partner of the partnership or member of the unincorporated association

      Note the following:
    • All Certificate of Individual forms must be signed before a notary.
    • All Certificate of Individual forms must be accompanied by a clear color photo, 2” x 2”, taken within 30 days of submitting the application and affixed where shown on the form. Photos must reveal front view, full face, head and shoulders. The face must not be concealed by a hat, hood, dark glasses or other apparel.
    • All Certificate of Individual forms must be accompanied by a copy of the person’s Social Security Number card and driver’s license.
    • If any person listed above does not have a U.S. SSN, he or she must also complete and submit a Request for Exemption from Social Security Number Requirement.
  • Arrange for the Commission office to receive criminal history records on each person who is required to file a Certificate of Individual form (listed above).
    • Each person must complete the Criminal History Record Check Authorization form to request State of Delaware and Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal background checks.
    • Follow the instructions on the Criminal History Record Check Authorization form to be fingerprinted. Submit the forms to the State Bureau of Identification.  Do not send these forms to the Commission office!
    • Allow at least four weeks for the State Bureau of Identification to send the criminal history records to the Commission office.

Reporting Changes

You are required to notify the Commission office in writing within ten days of any change in the persons listed above. For example, a report is required if the manager responsible for day-to-day operations leaves the business or if an employee quits.

If the change involves a person who has not previously submitted a Certificate of Individual form, submit a Certificate of Individual form completed and signed by the person.  For example, a Certificate of Individual form must be submitted if a new employee is hired or a new corporate director is named.