City Council amends video lottery cap proposal in Brookings


BROOKINGS — A proposed video lottery ordinance passed on a 7-0 vote at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, but it won’t go into effect due to changes in its wording that necessitate another vote on July 25.

The amendments do two things:

  • Increase the number of authorizations from 27 to 30.
  • Increase the base population of those authorizations from 23,377 to 26,377.

Brookings currently has 27 businesses with authorizations, so having 30 would allow a bit of leeway, especially since there are some applications in the pipeline — a concern that Councilor Wayne Avery brought up during discussion of the ordinance.

“The proposed ordinance setting the limit at 27 would effectively just shut any further consideration for any applications off since we already have 27,” he said. “It just seems like, from what I hear, I’m not sure the reasoning behind stopping it. I haven’t heard of any real law enforcement problems or any public outcry or anything. It seems to me like we’ve drawn a line in the sand and we’re standing on the line.”

He continued, “I’m not an advocate for or against video lottery, but I think in our policies that we need to be fair and reasonable. I think we’re probably inviting some issues that we’ll have to deal with down the road if we cut it off so abruptly. I know there’s things that are pending.”

Avery proposed an amendment raising the authorizations from 27 to 30.

“It wouldn’t be a big change, but it does allow some of the things that are in the pipeline to maybe get worked out and go from there,” he noted.

It wasn’t long after that Councilor Holly Tilton Byrne offered an amendment to Avery’s amendment, one that would bump up the base population for the 30 authorizations from 23,377 to 26,377. He accepted her proposal as a friendly amendment.

Councilor Brianna Doran shared her thoughts as well, along with survey findings.

“I agree with Wayne that as we read these policies, I never want to create a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist,” she said. “However, I would like to say that I think we stay very proactive with our ordinances, so I do thank the staff for their work on this. I appreciate this ordinance a lot.

“I personally have received a bit of positive support for the ordinance as is, but we received a survey result from a local organization that was really evenly divided on agreement, disagreement and neutral agreement, so I think that the conversation is on all sides,” Doran said. “So I see this amendment as a compromise number as a way to still allow for growth (while keeping) in line with the original intention.”

In the end, the City Council voted 7-0 in support of the changes to the proposed ordinance, then had a second vote — also 7-0 — to pass said ordinance. A third reading, and another vote, will be required in order for the proposal to come into force.

If the proposal does pass, it will only affect on-sale malt and on-sale wine license holders in Brookings. On-sale liquor licensees are governed by state rules and, thus, wouldn’t be affected.

— Contact Mondell Keck at