Democracy on the Front Lines
City Administrator’s Blog
June 22, 2012
There has been media coverage recently about video gambling (click here to read an article). This can be a confusing issue, because it deals with both state law and local ordinance so here is my attempt to clarify:
Several years ago, the state legislature passed a law allowing establishments that have a liquor license to own up to five video gambling machines. The machines would be connected to a central database, where the state would collect a tax from the machines and pass 5% of the tax to municipalities that allow the machines in their communities.
The state law allows for cities and counties to “opt out” and would prohibit the machines within those jurisdictions. Of course, they would forego the 5% tax proceeds as well.
The City of O’Fallon has a provision in its liquor ordinance that prohibits gambling in establishments with a liquor license. The ordinance was approved many years ago, long before the video gambling law. However, it is the controlling authority and video gambling is illegal as long as this provision of the ordinance remains in place.
In order for video gambling to be allowed in O’Fallon, the City Council would have to vote to remove the section of the liquor ordinance that prohibits gambling. Several local organizations (including the VFW, American Legion, and Knights of Columbus) recently requested that the City Council remove the prohibition in the liquor ordinance and allow video gambling in O’Fallon.
The issue was forwarded to the Community Development Committee and was discussed at its June 11 meeting. The discussion will continue at Monday’s Community Development Committee meeting (6 p.m. at O’Fallon City Hall).