SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Some residents of a Sioux Falls neighborhood are unhappy about a gas station’s plan to open a video lottery casino on its premises.
City planners granted an alcohol sale permit to convenience store owner Gary Cones earlier this month. South Dakota requires people seeking a video lottery license to have a special on-sale alcohol permit, the Argus Leader reported .
Cones plans to add video lottery room to his Hilltop BP gas station.
Neighbors upset with the plan have asked the city council to reconsider the decision because they worry the casino could bring crime to the neighborhood.
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“I’ve seen a lot of changes in the neighborhood,” said Judith Kock, who has lived across Cones’ gas station for decades. “There’s been robberies … and now you’re going to bring a criminal element into our neighborhood worse than it is now by allowing a casino.”
City Hall said alcohol sales can be permitted at the store because there are other businesses in the immediate vicinity.
Cones said the concerns are overblown.
“It’s my home also, and I would never want anything to happen where we have a bar where people are going to be getting drunk,” he said.
Cones said he plans to close the casino when the gas station closes at 10 p.m. He said he also doesn’t expect casino users to consume much alcohol.
“We’re not going to keep it as a bar. People who play at casinos don’t drink a lot of alcohol,” he said. “But in order for us to acquire a lottery license, we have to have an on-sale beverage license.”
The city council will discuss the matter Nov. 7.
Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com