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posted: 6/20/2012 6:35 PM

Wauconda officials hope approval of video gambling will benefit village financially.

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By Jennifer Earl
jearl@dailyherald.com

Wauconda village board members have unanimously agreed to allow video gambling within the village.

The board on Tuesday passed an ordinance to amend its village code to make an exception to the ban against video gambling machines.

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Mayor Mark Knigge said the board wanted to wait until the Illinois Gaming Board established guidelines before making a decision to allow video gambling. Those guidelines could be ready as soon as August.

"We kind of took a 'wait and see' stance to see what the state was going to come up with," Knigge said.

Trustees believe video gambling machines will generate much needed revenue for the village. Wauconda will receive 5 percent of the profit they generate.

Knigge said Trustee Linda Starkey suggested using the revenue for community projects and programs.

The board discussed putting money toward beautification projects to support economic development and for more community entry signs, Village Administrator David Geary said.

"With any revenue generated, we'll discuss how we can actually accomplish things to get on our strategic plan," Geary said.

Local businesses also believe they will reap benefits from the ordinance. Eight establishments, including the Wauconda Moose Lodge and Wauconda American Legion, plan to apply for a video gaming machine license.

Don Kutinac, district president of the Illinois Moose Association and lifetime member of the American Legion, said having video gambling devices will attract more local community members.

"Let's put it this way, if you have legalized gambling in your (town) and the next town over doesn't, people in other towns are going to come to your town to spend money," he said.

About 150 communities and six counties have voted to ban video gambling within their borders.

State law approved in 2009 allows video gaming at fraternal or veterans organizations, bars, restaurants and truck stops. License holders must have a separate gambling space supervised by someone 21 or older.

"I'm looking forward to it," Knigge said. "We will monitor it very closely to make sure all the guidelines are being followed. We always have the option of stopping it if there's some problem."

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