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posted: 7/31/2012 12:01 AM

Geneva likely to ban video gambling

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Geneva aldermen don't want video gambling in town.

Monday night, the committee of the whole took an informal vote on the matter. Given the choice of banning or regulating video gambling, nine aldermen called for a ban. Only Alderman Chuck Brown favored allowing gambling.

Currently, Geneva allows video gambling by default, as its liquor laws permit license-holders to have state-authorized gambling. When the state allowed video gambling in 2009, towns were given the option of opting out.

To have the machines, the business must serve liquor on premises, and an establishment could have only five machines.

But Geneva doesn't have any procedures for enforcing the state regulations, such as if a person younger than 21 uses the machines or if the machines are not supervised properly.

Sergio's Cantina has applied to the Illinois Gaming Board for a gaming license.

Alderman Dawn Vogelsberg said she didn't have a moral issue with gambling but would rather let other towns first allow it and then study their experiences.

Alderman Don Cummings noted that Carol Stream, Bartlett and North Aurora have allowed or are thinking about allowing video gambling, while Hinsdale, Winnetka and Batavia have banned it.

"I think that is somewhat telling, both of those lists," Cummings said, noting that Cicero also allows video gambling.

Alderman Craig Maladra was uneasy about endorsing something it generally prohibits.

"Do we really want Geneva to be a place that turns to this kind of behavior for income?" he asked.

Under the state law, the city would receive a 5 percent cut of revenue from each machine.

Brown noted the state has long allowed horse-race gambling and the lottery and suggested that video gambling may be the preference of today's texting-savvy younger generation.

City Administrator Mary McKittrick will develop and present an ordinance banning the gambling at a regular committee of the whole meeting. Monday's meeting was a special committee of the whole meeting in which procedural rules were suspended for a free-flowing, informal discussion of policies.

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