The Village of St. Joseph is revisiting creating a pour liquor license.
On Tuesday, representatives from Jack Flash attended the village board meeting and requested that the village consider creating and giving them a pour liquor license in order to allow them to have video gambling.
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.
The convenience store asked the village for the exact same license almost exactly a year ago. The village declined their request after citizens came to the board and said they were not in favor of the new license.
Previously, Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges said the license would have restrictions and guidelines that would have to be met, including the amount of alcohol served and how much of the business’s income was derived from video gaming. They had discussed a two-drink limit last year that would be enforced.
Lisa Wortman, co-owner of Jack Flash, told the board that they are a small business and 2020 had been hard on them. The company owns 17 gas stations and convenience stores in Illinois including three stores in Mattoon, two in Effingham and two in Danville.
Jack Flash and the village entered into a sales tax rebate agreement in January of 2014 that ends this year. As of 2019, the village rebated a total of $143,243.22
Wortman said since there are new members on the board of trustees, she was hoping the new trustees would be open to a pour license.
Trustees Jeff Van Buskirk and Terri Cummings are new to the board since the last time the pour license was addressed.
Jack Flash estimates their gaming revenue could provide the village with $18,000 to $20,000 in new revenue.
There is currently one business in town, Roch’s, that has video gaming. Roch’s currently has six machines.
The village made $13,000 in 2019 from video gambling at Roch’s where $3,072,769.37 was played.
In 2020, according to the Illinois Gaming Board Roch’s brought in $6,273.53 for the village.
Income from the machines is placed in the village’s stormwater fund and used strictly for that purpose.
Fruhling-Voges said there is no way to know how much more money the village could make by allowing more businesses to house gaming machines.
Ogden has more than 25 machines in their community and earned $40,000 from video gaming in 2019, said Ogden Village Clerk Jennifer Bowman.
Last year, Wortman argued that whether the village allowed the pour license for the gas station was not a moral question, but was just a question of if the village wanted additional tax revenue.
She also said there will be a two-drink maximum and only beer will be served. She also argued that the board is entrusted with making revenue decisions and needed to keep video gambling customers in town instead of them spending their money in other towns.
Last year, Roche Cain submitted a letter to the village saying he has sold over 51 percent of food since they opened which is a requirement of their liquor license/gambling license. Cain pointing out that they could have six gambling locations in town if everyone who could apply for the new license did as well as the restaurants that already have a liquor license. Cain said video gambling supplements a lot of restaurant’s income and that they took the gamble to open a restaurant.
Last year, Trustees Jim Wagner and Roy McCarty voted against a pour license. Trustees Dan Davis and Max Painter voted to allow a pour license. Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges voted against the license stating “I am concerned about the branding of the community,” she said. “We do allow it for the restaurants. They are a very small local restaurant and they need help to subsidize the business to make it. It wasn’t an easy decision. I have been tossing around the pros and cons of what would be best for the community.”
The board will hold a committee meeting to discuss the issue later this month.