Fulton considers more video gaming

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CLINTON — The Fulton City Council in two weeks will consider a proposal to allow a special liquor license for gaming at restaurants.

The new class liquor license for restaurants is intended to allow full-service restaurants the ability to get a liquor license that allows video gaming. The new license would have certain criteria, potentially to include more than 60 percent of gross receipts coming from the actual sale of food or that food must be prepared within the restaurant. The new liquor license would allow more video gaming for full-service restaurants. It could not be used for gaming dens, which are video gaming establishments that exist almost entirely for gaming and not for preparing and serving food.

“We’ve been talking about video gaming and the general consensus seems to be that there’s not a big support for gaming dens that are just doing the video gaming,” Fulton City Administrator Randy Boonstra said. “So this new class of liquor license would just be intended for full-service restaurants. (City Attorney) Bill (Shirk) has done some research and found that it is certainly something we can do.”

City Alderwoman Barb Mask wondered about the implications of having gaming in the same area as the restaurant. Shirk said it is the risk the restaurant owner takes when implementing gaming as to whether it deters people who want to go to the restaurant.

“As Bill (Shirk) says they would have to determine what the effects are of video gaming terminals and where they would locate them,” Boonstra said. “And maybe they don’t have five. Maybe they only have two or three and put them off to a different area or waiting area in the restaurant where perhaps people are waiting to get their tables.”

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Fulton Mayor Mike Ottens said the city can stipulate the hours for gaming, requiring the restaurant to be open for gaming to be open.

“You can’t do a little cover shift and say ‘Well we open at 8, we don’t serve until 7 but you can come in and game all day.'”

Fulton Alderman Mike Van Zuiden believes if the restaurant meets the qualifications and stipulations in the ordinance, the rest of the responsibility is on the restaurant owner.

“If they decide to do it that way and it turns people off then I mean it’s your business, you’re impacting them,” Van Zuiden said.

Boonstra said the city has requests from other businesses to allow gaming in restaurants. The item will be placed on the next City Council agenda.



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