WASHINGTON — Changes in the city's video gambling ordinance that essentially prevent a video gambling café from opening in Washington were approved Monday by the City Council.
The council also lifted a two-month moratorium on city video gambling licenses that went into effect Aug. 7.
The nine Washington bars, restaurants and service clubs that have video gambling machines are not subject to the revised ordinance unless there's a substantial change in their business operation.
New to the ordinance is a requirement for a new applicant for a city video gambling license to prove it has earned at least 80 percent of its revenue annually from the sale of food or beverages for two years to be considered for a license.
After a license has been issued, a minimum 60 percent of revenue annually from the sale of food or beverages is needed.
"We want to make sure an establishment applying for a city video gambling license has redeeming value beyond video gambling," said Washington Police Master Sgt. Jeff Stevens, who worked with Police Chief Mike McCoy in recommending the ordinance changes that were approved Monday.
City Clerk Pat Brown contributed to the ordinance research process, which began after Mayor Gary Manier, the city's liquor commissioner, said the city's ordinance — which was originally adopted in 2012 and modified slightly in 2013 — needed to be examined because of the proliferation of video gambling cafes in the area.
The revised ordinance limits the number of video gambling licenses (nine) and video gambling machines (40) in Washington. There currently are nine licensees and 39 machines.
Also new in the ordinance are requirements for each licensee to have at least 10 seats outside the video gambling area for each video gambling machine and at least five square feet of customer-accessible area for each square foot in the video gambling area.
As previously, only holders of a city Class E liquor license (full bar) can obtain a city video gambling license.
State law allows a maximum of five video gambling machines in a licensed facility.
Washington's revised video gambling ordinance falls five short of the 45 allowable machines under state law, but the maximum number of machines in the city could be increased by the council if a current license holder wanted to add machines and the council approved the business' request.
Also at Monday's council meeting:
• Neighbors who live near an empty home at 1006 Lawndale Lane said the lot is an eyesore, filled with animals like raccoons and skunks, and there's a car with an expired license plate parked there. The home has been vacant for a year, neighbors said, and is deteriorating. City officials said they will look into the situation.
• The council approved a not-to-exceed cost of $19,835 for the purchase and installation of three lights in and near the city's parking lot southeast of the downtown square.
Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.