Three winners were recently announced the winners for the 2022 liquor license lottery, with local resident and real estate investor Seamus O’Neill being one of the recipients. [CAROL KENT | The News and Advertiser]

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The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation recently announced the winners for the 2022 liquor license lottery, with three individuals selected for Washington County.

Local resident and real estate investor Seamus O’Neill was one of the three. O’Neill declined to give an official comment after being contacted by Washington County News, though said the win has attracted offers from parties interested in purchasing the license. 

O’Neill said he is evaluating the offers and will ultimately sell the license.

The other two winners have listed addresses outside of Washington County: Hector Rodriguez in West Palm Beach and Sadhanaben Patel in St. John. 

The lottery entry period began August 15, 2022, and closed Sept. 28 the same year. The drawing was held on September 25, 2023.

Applications to purchase a liquor sale license opened in Washington County in 2022 after a majority of voters approved allowing liquor sales in the county. 

Entry into the lottery was $100. Those selected during the random drawing will pay a first-year renewal fee of around $643 in addition to a one-time Hughes Act fee of $10,750, which is slated for alcohol and drug abuse education, treatment and prevention programs. The amount of licenses awarded in a county is determined by local population and capped at a certain amount depending on that number. 

The applicant will then have 45 days to apply for the license after being selected and two years to transfer or activate it. If either of those time frames are not met, the application will be offered to the next alternate. 

Issuance of the license is contingent on a background check, as restrictions are in place regarding convicted felons. Licenses may be sold and transferred; however, a transfer penalty totaling up to 15 times the annual fee can apply if the license is sold within the first three years of issuance.

Washington County News Publisher Carol Kent contributed to this story.