Zion-Benton News

Zion to revisit video gaming

By Mona Shannon
Zion-Benton News staff

The Zion Liquor Control Commission met last week and approved a Class F retail liquor license for Violet Banquet Hall, Inc. which is planned for 2847 Sheridan Road.

The Commission also heard a presentation from Shone Davis who would like to open two cafes in the city and is requesting a liquor license for beer and wine only. He would like to have video gaming at the cafes but to get a video gaming license in Illinois requires alcohol be served. He said the cafes would be nothing like a bar and many patrons do not even drink. The cafes would serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and will seat 30 to 40 people at each location. He said he is willing to impose a three-drink per day limit.

Davis said people who visit video gaming establishments don’t want to go to bars which are noisy and may have rowdy patrons. He said they just want to relax and play some games.

The locations for the cafes would be 3242 Sheridan Road, near Family Video and at Route 173 and Green Bay Road in the strip mall behind Anna’s gas station and car wash.

Mayor Al Hill, who serves as chairman of the Liquor Commission, said the issue of video gaming must be addressed before creating a liquor license. He said he would like to give Davis’ request serious consideration. The city council previously voted down video gaming but he said it would provide a much-needed revenue stream.

Hill said at a recent budget workshop, the city council directed Finance Director David Knabel to present a budget that will use all the city’s surplus revenue and delay a payback payment to the police pension fund. “That means in a year we will be facing a large deficit,” he said.

Beach Park has four establishments with 16 machines and has averaged $4,500 a month since last November when video gaming was first permitted, said Peggy McHugh, Finance Director/Treasurer.

Winthrop Harbor Finance Director Lisa Shaw said the village has received $142,650 this year to date from video gaming. This is the third fiscal year since gaming has been allowed in Winthrop Harbor.

The issue of video gaming will be added to the agenda for the July 7 city council meeting.

Hill said the only other establishments in Zion that would be eligible for video gaming are the Pit Stop, Fritz’s Corner and possibly Market Square Hotel.

City commissioner Jim Taylor was in the audience and agreed the issue of video gaming must be addressed before a beer/wine liquor license class is created.