Listen to this article

ST. JOSEPH — The St. Joseph Village Board is expected to vote tonight on whether to create a new package-and-pour license liquor license, which would allow video gaming in businesses that already have package licenses.

Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges said that Jack Flash (303 E. Warren St.) and the St. Joseph IGA (205 N. Main St.) have shown interest in the new license.

The license classification would strictly be for the purpose of allowing businesses to have the ability to offer video gaming.

According to Illinois state statute, to have video gaming, an establishment must hold a liquor license that allows drinks to be available for consumption on the premises.

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’ income was derived from video gaming.

“We are looking into other communities that have these types of classifications and considering all the pros and cons of adding additional video gaming in the community,” she said.

Fruhling-Voges said there is currently one business in town — the restaurant Roch’s, at 101 N. Main St. — which offers video gaming. Its four machines generated $13,000 in revenue for the village last year.

“There are many things to consider,” Fruhling-Voges said, “but because we currently allow video gaming at our restaurants that serve alcohol, we also need to consider whether or not to open that opportunity to other businesses that sell alcohol as well.”

Revenue from the four Roch’s gaming terminals machines is placed in the village’s storm water fund and used strictly for that purpose.

Fruhling-Voges said there’s no way to know how much more money the village could make by allowing more businesses to house gaming terminals, but it’s safe to assume St. Joseph is losing revenue to neighboring villages that have more machines.

“Ogden, which is only five miles to the east, has 27 machines in their community,” she said.

Ogden Village Clerk Jennifer Bowman said the village’s total revenue from video gaming varies month to month, but in 2019 generated nearly $40,000 for Ogden.

If the St. Joseph board votes in favor of a new classification, Fruhling-Voges said restrictions and guidelines will be given to the village attorney to create the new license. It would only be available to package liquor license holders already in the village.

Any new business would have to apply for a license.

As mayor, Fruhling-Voges also serves as the The mayor currently is the liquor commissioner and is the person who oversees and enforces the liquor license requirements.