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Back in July, Brookfield’s Village Board of Trustees moved to block the arrival of video gambling parlors by mandating a one-year waiting period before a restaurant or lounge can apply for a local gaming license.

And on Sept. 14, trustees voted unanimously to tighten video gambling rules a bit more.

The new law treats gaming licenses the same way the village treats liquor licenses. That is, the village now allows only a set number of gaming licenses for establishments and a separate set number of licenses for gaming terminals throughout the village.

“In the past, apparently, certain video gaming licenses were issued without the board passing an ordinance to create that license,” said Village Attorney Richard Ramello. “This reconciles the number of licenses issued to the section of the code that specifies how many licenses have been issued.”

Village Manager Keith Sbiral said the issue regarding how licenses are transferred when a business closes or is sold came on the heels of the village’s move to put a one-year moratorium on granting new gaming licenses to new bars and restaurants.

Allowing licenses to be transferred in those instances would not prevent new owners from taking on the licenses and simply transforming the businesses into gambling parlors.

According to the law passed last week, the village allows 15 establishments to hold gaming licenses and has limited the number of terminals throughout the village to 69.

That means once a business is sold or closes, the licenses cannot be transferred to a new owner at the same address. Instead, when a business is closed or sold, the number of establishments and terminals allowed in the village is automatically reduced. 

As a result, those numbers recently declined to 14 establishments and 67 terminals when Salt Creek Wine Bar closed.

The new owner must apply for a new gaming license and for licenses for any terminals, which then would have to be created by the village board. 

State law limits establishments to five terminals. If a business owner seeks fewer than five terminals initially, he would have to apply for any additional terminal licenses to be created by the village board in the future.

Like liquor licenses, gaming licenses can only be created by a vote of the village’s board of trustees. The village annually charges businesses $25 for each video gambling terminal it allows.

Once the village board creates the licenses, the Brookfield liquor commissioner — i.e. the village president — can issue the licenses to the business.

“It further sends the message … that we feel we have the appropriate amount of video gambling, but that we’re not looking to go into new setup, new shops for video gaming and that we will deal with them on a case-by-case basis after the appropriate time,” said Village Trustee Michael Garvey.