After taking some time to evaluate, the Jacksonville City Council discussed on Monday the possibility of opening up liquor licences for further video gaming in the city — if businesses comply with additional regulations.
Several months ago, aldermen directed the mayor — as liquor commissioner — to deny any further requests for video gaming parlors. Since then, owners of convenience and liquor stores have expressed interest in installing the gambling terminals. Mayor Andy Ezard said he has tentatively denied such requests but wanted aldermen to set further guidelines.
An upcoming ordinance change could require restaurants and taverns have a certain percentage of income — perhaps 50 or 60 percent — be non-gaming related.
City Attorney Dan Beard said this provision is already in place in Springfield and could be used to prohibit any more gaming parlors other than the two that already exist in the city.
“It only applies to those who get a liquor license after a certain date,” Beard said. “So you would grandfather in the two that you got, and everyone else, if they are below that revenue … you just don’t renew their liquor license.”
There was some concern that these provisions could have an effect on service organizations that operate gaming terminals and may not sell as much alcohol, though Beard said they would be grandfathered in, as well.
While the revenue percentage regulation is being prepped for a vote at an upcoming meeting, there was some thought that some change might be made in the future to allow more gaming parlors.
While some argue against it, some aldermen were in favor of creating a video gaming license that could carry a fee of anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000.
“I thought we were backing away from that limit, that we would open it up and anyone who wanted one could pay a big fat fee and get it,” alderman Marcy Patterson said. “I’m not good with letting two people have the business. … Two people get that great business in the community and no one else does.”
Also Monday, aldermen gathered consensus on a new name for the former Kiwanis Park — Jacksonville East Park.
Part of the park was recently carved out and given to the Jacksonville Cemetery Department for storage of equipment for East Cemetery.
Alderman Adonnis Shaw was one of the few who was not in favor of the new name. He said he felt the city was “slapping a name on it and moving on,” and suggested several names and perhaps a competition among high school students to come up with a name on their own.
Alderman Lori Oldenettel said that not attaching a name to it leaves it open to be named for someone who may come forward to make a donation to improve the park.
“I’m honestly surprised,” Shaw said. “I thought you would take this a little more seriously.”
Cody Bozarth can be reached at (217) 245-6121, ext. 1223, or on Twitter @JCnews_Cody.