With video gaming having become a significant source of additional revenue for businesses in Illinois since 2012, three local store owners are making an appeal to the New Lenox Village Board to install terminals in their stores.
Yogin Soni of United Liquor, Claudio Labriola of Route 30 Wine and Liquor and Nish Patel of the Laraway Road 7-Eleven, during the public comments portion of the Village Board meeting Monday night, petitioned village officials to find a way to allow them to serve alcohol in their stores to qualify for a video gaming license from the state.
Illinois requires that businesses have a “pour license,” which allows consumption of alcohol on the premises in order to be able to install gaming terminals. This was done to give the state further regulation over video gaming. Allowing pour licenses in these businesses would require New Lenox to create a new liquor license classification and amend its liquor ordinance, Mayor Tim Baldermann said.
Soni, Labriola and Patel told the board that they need the gaming terminals to make up for decreasing revenue.
“As a small-business owner, every day, year by year, the competition keeps growing,” Soni said. “Gaming machines and a pour license in the store can help bring in more revenue.”
Labriola said he is willing to have a separate room for the video gaming terminals with video cameras and limit drinking.
However, the idea of people drinking in the liquor stores and gas station convenience stores in town seemed to be the sticking point for Baldermann and other trustees Monday.
“Even if you limit it to one [drink], my concern is somebody sitting at the games and drinking in a 7-Eleven,” Baldermann said. “It’s not the same if it’s a bar of a restaurant.”
Pat Ostry of Lucky Lincoln Gaming told the board that his company could provide information on other municipalities it has worked with in the past that had similar concerns and were able to come up with rules that worked for them. Ostry said the state’s gaming policy has “flexibility” with the pour license.
Last year, New Lenox made $180,000 from 13 of the gaming locations, Baldermann said.
Baldermann also announced the acts for the village’s annual Triple Play Concert Series. Cheap Trick will play June 8, Joan Jett will have Blue Oyster Cult as an opening act July 20, and Kenny Loggins will perform Aug. 31.