St. Francis council amends gambling ordinance

The St. Francis City Council Monday unanimously adopted an ordinance dropping a requirement that all charitable gambling proceeds within the city must be spent only in the city’s trade area.

The trade area expenditure requirement had raised concerns from the St. Francis American Legion Post, a major operator of charitable gambling activities that benefit many who are from areas outside of St. Francis.

The amended ordinance also more clearly permits electronic linked bingo within the city, on which the previous ordinance had been unclear.

The amended ordinance does, however, retain a provision that gambling operations within the city must pay 10 percent of net profits to the city.

Mayor Jerry Tveit said he would like to see a portion of the funds generated from the 10 percent provision be used to help fund Pioneer Days.

Although the law does not permit the city to specifically tie this revenue to Pioneer Days, it can use the funds to offset general fund expenditures toward the annual celebration.

It is not yet certain exactly how much revenue the provision will generate, but the council voted unanimously to allocate money in the city’s general fund in an amount not to exceed $9,000 toward Pioneer Days.