Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012, 8:40 pm

Rapids City receives video gaming request

Comment on this story

By Sarah Ford, correspondent@qconline.com

RAPIDS CITY -- Rapids City trustees must consider whether to allow a video gaming establishment after QC Mart President and CEO Bill Ernst on Tuesday requested a liquor license for a new business.

Mr. Ernst said he was in the planning phase of opening an business that would have up to five video gaming machines, but would need the liquor license approval in order to proceed. He was also seeking support of the potential idea from trustees before proceeding, while adding that the village would not have any financial obligations.

"The cost is about $100,000 for five machines in one location," said Mr. Ernst. "But it's zero dollars for the city if you just say yes to the liquor license. I'm here to offer it, see where you want to go, and answer any questions."

The mayor and trustees were hesitant to move forward on any decision, and planned for more discussions during an ordinance and license committee meeting in January.

"The extra revenue sounds great, but how we get it and what we want in our community- that needs more discussion," said Mayor Greg Rankin.

"If you don't want video gaming, you have to pass an ordinance," added Police Chief Robert Fuller. "You have to opt out of it."

"I'm all for new business, and thank you for doing business in Rapids City," said Trustee Mary Beth Eggers. "But, personally, I'm not a big fan of gambling. The revenues just don't offset the social costs of gambling in a community. And we need to hear the pros and cons from constituents and address unanswered questions."

Mr. Ernst asked the board to let him know of their decision as soon as possible, so he could approach other interested communities.

In other action, it was reported that Trustee Brenda Lack resigned, and Mayor Rankin will appoint a replacement before the January 2013 meeting. Election packets are still available at the Village Hall for April elections and must be turned in by Dec. 26. The mayor's seat and three four-year trustee terms are open.

Trustees also voted to remove the $10.75 garbage fee for all residents in the month of December, citing a surplus for the year in the waste management fund.