The Belleville City Council on Monday night approved an ordinance that would pave the way for video gaming in the Jack Flash convenience store planned to be built next to the Hofbräuhaus under construction and the planned Hyatt Place hotel off Illinois 15.
The ordinance amends the city’s video gaming and convenience store ordinances so that the Jack Flash would be classified as a truck stop and be allowed to have video gaming, which would still have to be approved by the Illinois Gaming Board.
Convenience stores usually are not allowed to have video gaming terminals but truck stops are allowed to have video gaming, according to the state regulations first approved in 2009. The terminals were activated in 2012.
Bars, some restaurants, veterans clubs and fraternal clubs also are allowed to have video gaming, which produced $277 million in revenue for the state last year and $246,474 for Belleville.
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To me out there, that’s just a gambling parlor. Why are they getting special dispensation?
Ward 2 Alderman Mike Buettner
The proposed Jack Flash site is across the highway from the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. No other convenience stores in Belleville currently meet the state’s definition of a truck stop or the city’s requirement that a truck stop be located within two miles of an interstate exit. The Jack Flash site is less than two miles from the Illinois 15 exit off Interstate 255.
Truck stops must have three acres and sell at least 10,000 gallons a month of diesel or biodiesel. Mayor Mark Eckert said the Jack Flash site is three acres and that the developer expects to meet the fuel requirement.
Eckert said Jack Flash intends to seek tour bus operators to buy fuel instead of truck drivers because buses often stop at the Shrine and are expected to stop at the Hofbräuhaus.
Eckert noted the Flying J truck stop on Illinois 15 in Alorton is closer to the interstate and caters to truck drivers.
Aldermen voted 14-1 to pass the ordinance. Ward 2 Alderman Mike Buettner cast the lone no vote and Ward 6 Alderman Paul Seibert was absent.
Ward 8 Alderman Roger Wigginton, who is chairman of the Ordinance and Legal Review Committee that first discussed the Jack Flash case, told the council he recently saw the Jack Flash store in Farmersville near Springfield.
“It’s spotless. You don’t even know there are gaming machines in there,” Wigginton said of the Farmersville Jack Flash.
It’s spotless. You don’t even know there are gaming machines in there.
Ward 8 Alderman Roger Wigginton said of the Farmersville Jack Flash
“It will fit into the site plan very, very well,” Wigginton said of the Belleville location. “They’re going to be catering to the people I think that are coming and going onto that property.”
Ward 3 Aldermen Scott Tyler and Kent Randle also said they visited the Farmersville store. Tyler said it looked like a QuikTrip with a Cracker Barrel inside of it.
After the meeting, Buettner said he opposes allowing video gaming in the Jack Flash store.
“To me out there, that’s just a gambling parlor,” Buettner said. “Why are they getting special dispensation?”
Construction has not yet begun on the Jack Flash in Belleville. John Wortman, the owner of the convenience store chain, announced last year that he would build a store next to the $12 million Hofbräuhaus.
The Keller family of Effingham has announced a $28 million Hyatt Place hotel will be built next to the Hofbräuhaus they are building but construction has not begun on the hotel.
The Hofbräuhaus construction began in late 2015 and still continues.
In other business
Aldermen took the following action Monday night:
▪ Brian Schield was hired as a probationary firefighter.
▪ The Round Table Café at 64th and West Main streets was granted a liquor license.