The Oswego Village Board has approved new rules to limit the number of establishments that can offer video gambling in order to control its proliferation.
At the Feb. 6 Village Board meeting, trustees unanimously approved capping the number of licenses for gaming cafes at 15. There currently are 11 gaming cafes in the village and another gaming cafe plans to open after receiving Illinois Gaming Board approval.
In addition, new gaming cafes will have to be a minimum of one mile from other gaming cafes. That will also apply to gas stations that offer video gambling.
They also voted unanimously to cap the number of gaming licenses for gas stations at 11. Seven gas stations in the village currently offer video gaming.
The two Speedway gas stations in Oswego have already applied for gaming licenses. The owners of two proposed gas stations also are expected to apply for gaming licenses in the next two months.
In addition, trustees voted not to allow any more convenience stores to have video gambling. The one convenience store that does have video gambling – DP’s Mart on Douglas Road – will be allowed to continue to offer it.
Also, they enacted new rules requiring restaurants, bars and nonprofit businesses to be in business for a year before they can apply for a gaming license. There currently are eight ancillary businesses that offer video gambling along with two nonprofit businesses.
Those that apply for gaming licenses in the next two months would be grandfathered in and those with existing licenses would also be grandfathered in.
“All of them really are not within a mile from each other currently, so they’re all grandfathered in too,” Oswego Village Administrator Dan Di Santo said.
There currently are 29 active gaming licenses in the village and one pending license. The village receives approximately $400,000-plus annually in video gaming revenue.
Gaming revenue goes into the village’s general fund. Video gaming was approved in the village in May 2013.
At that time, it was restricted to 10 locations. In 2015, the village eliminated the restriction for the number of locations.
Oswego Village President Ryan Kauffman has said residents have approached him and said the village needs to address the issue of video gaming.
“Residents have reached out to me and said, ‘Ryan, do something about this,’ ‘’ Kauffman said. “The revenue is great, of course. But it’s more than just the revenue. I’m not against gaming per se. I’m really not. I have nothing against gaming at all. But it’s about a balance. We want to make sure that we are managing and maintaining the perception that Oswego is this business friendly community, of course, but also a family-friendly community. Because we don’t want this perception to get out there that we’re Las Vegas East.”