Oswego OKs new regulations on video gambling

Oswego trustees have agreed to impose a cap on video gambling cafes and also on video gambling at gas stations in the village.

The Village Board also decided not to grant any new video gambling licenses to convenience stores as part of the newly-approved ordinance, which is designed to regulate future gambling sites in town.

The board in May 2013 approved video gambling in Oswego. The number of video gambling establishments in the village became a topic in the municipal election last spring.

Oswego Village President Ryan Kauffman, who won a two-way race in the 2023 election, said the number of video gambling sites in town consistently came up on the campaign trail.

The ordinance recently approved by the board will cap video gambling cafe licenses at 15. The village currently has 11 active gambling cafe sites and one is pending Illinois Gaming Board approval, village officials said.

Video gambling restrictions were imposed for gas stations and convenience stores as well under the new ordinance. Trustees decided to cap gas station video gambling licenses at 11. Currently, the village has seven gas stations with video gambling on the premises. Two other gas stations have applied and two other gas stations under construction intend to apply for such a license, village officials said.

The Village Board also decided it will no longer allow video gambling at convenience stores, except for a site which currently has a gambling license. If DP’s Mart at 1240 Douglas Road ever closes, the number of gambling licenses for convenience stores will drop to zero.

No other current or future convenience stores will be allowed to apply, officials said.

For video gambling licenses that are ancillary to a business, namely restaurants and bars and non-profit organizations, the entity must be in business for a minimum of one year before it can apply for a gambling license. The village currently has eight such sites. Trustees decided not to impose any cap on this type of gambling license.

Trustees agreed to impose a one-mile buffer between video gambling cafes, but not for video gambling licenses granted to restaurants and bars.

“Gaming cafes is where we need to have the buffer,” Trustee Karin McCarthy-Lange said.

Linda Girardi is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.

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