Tonight, the St. Joseph Village Board will discuss and vote on whether to create a new liquor classification that would allow those already with a package license to serve a limited amount of alcohol.
The license would effectively be a package and pour license, which would allow video gambling in businesses that already have a package license
Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges said that Jack Flash, located at 303 E. Warren St., and the St. Joseph IGA, located at 205 N Main St., have shown interest in the new license.
Lisa Wortman, who is one of the owners of Jack Flash, attended the first January village board meeting and told the board that Illinois State statute says that in order to have video gaming, an establishment must have a liquor license that allows drinks to be available for consumption on the premises. However, Wortman feels that people people probably will not drink while gambling and even if the board limited it to one drink per person it would not effect the number of people gambling.
In emails from January 14 obtained via a Freedom of Information Act Request Wortman tells Fruhling-Voges that she spoke to her brother, Mike Schutzbach, who is also the mayor of Effingham.
Schutzbach told Wortman that Effingham has a P-1 license that package liquor stores use to add pour capabilities for gaming. The licenses are given on a case-by-case basis but all of the package locations do have this option in Effingham, Wortman said in the email.
Wortman said the city has successfully kept all gaming parlors out of the community using this type of license.
“Hopefully between this language and the Greenville ordinance language, these can be helpful to you, she said.
In an Oct. 29 email Wortman promised the mayor the business was committed to the village.
“Jack Flash is committed to the Village of St. Joe and will continue our work to be partners with the community. We will provide an upscale environment with age-restricted access. We feel this is a good opportunity for our company and it will provide a good return for the Village as well. I look forward to working with you on this project,” Wortman said.
Wortman also gave Fruhling-Voges information on an ordinance from Greenville which allowed a liquor store the Wortman’s owned to have a pour license but prevented gas stations from having a similar license.
“They included this so that the several gas stations in town would not qualify for this type of license which made that very beneficial for our package liquor store in Greenville,” she said.
Wortman provided the village with estimates regarding the amount of money that video gaming at Jack Flash could earn the village.
“These numbers are based on the historical St. Joe data prior to La Luna closing and the surrounding community’s upward revenue trends over the past several years. We feel that these projections are very representative based on our company’s experience in the gaming industry,” Wortman said in a Nov. 1 email.
Roch’s currently has four machines and before it closed La Luna had five.
Since 2013 the village has received $113,707.51, according to the Illinois Gaming Board Video Gaming Report.
$60,082.59 of that revenue came from La Luna.
In 2019, the village received $12,408.19 from Roch’s four machines.
Profits from the machines are divided with the state taking 25 percent, the local municipality taking 5 percent and the location and the terminal operator each taking 35 percent.
On Dec. 17, the village had a meeting with Wortman, her daughter Jackie and Denise Hatfield the manager of Jack Flash. They are proposing removing their pizza oven area to open a video gaming room.
Lisa told the board their current locations that allow video gaming only serve beer or wine, everything is in a separate room away from the other retail area and that they carefully self-police their businesses for underage violators.
In a recent poll held on the St. Joseph Record Facebook page 300 people voted for no new license classification. The poll had 416 voters which is consistent with a sample size of 10 percent. 116 people voted for a new license.
Jack Flash and the village entered into a sales tax rebate agreement in January of 2014 that is to last until 2021. The agreement states in the first and second year the village receives the first $22,500 of sales tax revenue. Jack Flash receives the second $22,500. Any additional sales tax money is split with 85 percent going to Jack Flash for a maximum of $48,000. The third year the village receives the first $22,500 of sales tax revenue. Jack Flash receives the second $22,500. Any additional sales tax money is split with 80 percent going to Jack Flash for a maximum of $46,500. The fourth year the village receives the first $22,500 of sales tax revenue. Jack Flash receives the second $22,500. Any additional sales tax money is split with 60 percent going to Jack Flash for a maximum of $40,500. In the fifth and sixth year the village receives the first $22,500 of sales tax revenue. Jack Flash receives the second $22,500. Any additional sales tax money is split with 30 percent going to Jack Flash for a maximum of $31,500.
In 2016 the village paid Jack Flash $28,745.84. In 2017 the village paid $33,169.43. In 2018 the village paid $41,220.79 and in 2019 the village paid $40,107.16 for a total of $143,243.22
The mayor currently is the liquor commissioner and is the person who oversees and enforces the liquor license requirements.
The village board meets today at 7 p.m. at village hall, located at 207 E. Lincoln Street.