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Government Local

Sycamore City Council votes against additional video gambling licenses

Alderwomen Nancy Copple (left) and Virgina Sherrod and Alderman Rick Kramer listen as the Sycamore City Council debated the addition of a new Class VG liquor license Monday at the Sycamore Center, 308 W. State St.. All three voted in favor of additional licenses, but the motion failed because it failed to get the required three-fourth's majority of the council.
Alderwomen Nancy Copple (left) and Virgina Sherrod and Alderman Rick Kramer listen as the Sycamore City Council debated the addition of a new Class VG liquor license Monday at the Sycamore Center, 308 W. State St.. All three voted in favor of additional licenses, but the motion failed because it failed to get the required three-fourth's majority of the council.

SYCAMORE – It’s going to be another year before the Sycamore City Council entertains the idea of creating more liquor licenses in the video gambling class after it failed to reach the required three-fourth’s majority to expand the license Monday night.

Lance Klinger, owner of Ski’s and Sophie’s Place, currently possesses two Class B liquor licenses and formally requested that the City Council create a new Class VG license. In September, the council restructured its liquor licenses and created the new Class VG for video gambling cafes in town, capping the total number at four. That number could be increased with a three-fourth’s majority vote, which Klinger was requesting.

“When the license is created, it’s done so blindly,” City Manager Brian Gregory said. “It’s the question of do we want, as a council or a city, additional licenses. From there, how the license is distributed is up to the commissioner.”

Municipal code names the mayor, currently Curt Lang, as the local liquor commissioner.

“I love Ski’s,” 3rd Ward Alderwoman Nancy Copple said. “Lance has invested so much in Sycamore. The only concern I had from many people in our ward is they didn’t want another video gaming doohickey ... I’m torn.”

Copple said the new business might be a nice new gentle addition to Sycamore.

Other members of the council also spoke positively about Klinger’s business and his involvement in the community, and the council had to be reminded once by City Attorney Keith Foster that the council decided the number of licenses, not who would receive them.

Steve Braser, the other alderman from Ward 3, said there shouldn’t be any regulation on the number video gambling cafes, like there isn’t any regulation on other businesses.

“Let the better businessman survive,” he said.

Alan Bauer, a 1st Ward alderman, thought that would be bad for Sycamore.

“I don’t think it’s a good look,” Bauer said. “And we’ve worked hard to maintain a good look.”

Chuck Stowe, a 2nd Ward alderman, said he was in favor of regulating things such as liquor and gambling.

Although the issue was brought as a consideration to the council, Gregory suggested the council vote to make a determination on where it stood on the issue. Stowe proposed a motion to extend the number of video gambling licenses by three.

The vote was five in favor, three against, short of the three-fourth’s required to increase the number of Class VG licenses. Stowe proposed another vote, that the council revisit the issue in November 2018. It passed.

Klinger said he was not happy about the vote.

“We’re voting from a standpoint of personal beliefs, not what’s good for the community,” he said. “Some don’t see the real value in it.”

He said he would not go to another town to open his new business.

“I’ve got enough going on,” he said.

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