Elburn trustees at the Committee of the Whole meeting on Jan. 7 considered a request from Larry Schwartz of Lucky Day Gaming to locate a gaming café, Kelly’s Lounge, in the Prairie Valley Commercial Center at 108 Valley Dr., but decided that they would not move forward with the request.
Schwartz’s proposal was for a video gaming café that would serve coffee, soft drinks, sandwiches, breakfast options, lunch and dinner, as well as alcoholic beverages, with the hours of operation from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week.
According to Village Administrator John Nevenhoven, state statute and village ordinance prohibit the sale of alcohol within 100 feet of a school or church. The village is currently considering granting the Creative Beginnings Early Education preschool a special use permit to relocate the school from the Elburn and Countryside Community Center to 108 Valley Dr., Units A and B, just two doors down from the desired location for Kelly’s Lounge, Unit D.
Nevenhoven said that the entire building is only about 100 feet, so if Creative Beginnings gets the go-ahead from the Village Board to locate within the building, that would effectively block the gaming café from locating anywhere in the building.
“What if they were to open their café without a liquor license?” asked Aleta Russell, co-owner of the Prairie Valley Center.
Russell said that she had also been approached by Schwartz regarding Kelly’s.
Nevenhoven explained that in order to apply for a gaming license, the establishment must have a liquor license. The only exceptions to this are if the business is a truck stop or a veteran’s organization.
Another obstacle that Kelly’s Lounge faces is the fact the Village of Elburn is currently at its maximum for its number of Class A liquor licenses, the type of license that Kelly’s would need in order to operate. A Class A license allows an establishment to sell alcohol for consumption on-site, as well as packages to go. Elburn has three such licenses and all three are currently in use.
Elsie’s Place, located at 151 E. Rt. 38, just east of Route 47, a similar business, has one of the three Class A liquor licenses. When the Village Board set the number of various classes of liquor licenses, it did so using a formula based on the village’s population. In order to consider Kelly’s Lounge, trustees would have to go back and revisit that calculation.
“We’ve all been pretty adamant about the number of liquor licenses,” Village President Jeff Walter said.
There are currently three bars/restaurants in Elburn that offer video gaming on-site – Schmidt’s Towne Tap, Knuckleheads and Elsie’s Place. The village’s percentage of the gaming revenues from these three establishments is forecast to top $30,000 for 2019.
During the board’s Dec. 3 Committee of the Whole meeting, trustees briefly discussed whether or not a moratorium was warranted on the number of gaming terminals in town. They agreed not to initiate the moratorium at this time.
“It’s a great revenue source, and half of the money goes to our parks,” Walter said at the time.
However, trustee Bill Grabarek raised concerns then and reiterated them again during the Jan. 7 discussion.
“You can be saturated with video gaming,” he said.