At the Vermilion City Council Meeting on Monday, February 3, 2020 Mayor Forthofer addressed comments to Council from the December 2, 2019 meeting by Mr. and Mrs. Winningham.
“Mr. & Mrs. Winningham, owners of Lucky Duck Sweepstakes Café, met with the Service Director, Building Inspector and me as planned on December 4th,” stated the mayor. “The Winningham's detailed the behavior that they would like the city to investigate in exchange for a tax rate increase on gaming machines.”
“First, to make things clear, enforcement of laws is not negotiated in exchange for paying a tax increase,” clarified the mayor. “They are independent matters determined by their own merits. Enforcement of all legislation is applied universally regardless of who pays how much in taxes.”
“In the meeting with the Winningham's on December 4, the Administration tried to sort out which alleged infractions of another sweepstakes café in Vermilion are the responsibility of the City Building Department, and which fall under the Vermilion Police Department,” stated the mayor. “They determined that most of the alleged infractions were the concern of the VPD. Subsequently, the Building Department representatives and I met with Chief Hartung and Det. Sgt. Davis.”
“Many of the gaming regulations originate at the State level,” continued Mayor Forthofer. “To seek clarification, we are trying to arrange a meeting with county level prosecutors and state contacts to help us better understand the state laws. VPD experience in past Sweepstakes Café law enforcement is that an arrest or citation is one thing. Prosecution is another.”
“Since the visit by the Winningham's, it appears a third Sweepstakes Café by a third owner is going through the application process,” said the mayor. “The Sweepstakes Café enforcement issue are a concern among all communities that have them.”
Mayor Forthofer said he will not discuss the details of sweepstakes unit investigations other than they are moving forward.