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updated: 8/7/2012 11:12 PM

Sugar Grove leans toward video gambling ban

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The Sugar Grove village board is inclined to ban video gambling, judging by its discussion of the matter Tuesday night.

No vote was taken at the board's committee of the whole meeting, but after three trustees said they wanted a ban and another questioned how the gambling would be regulated, Village President Sean Michels said there seemed to be a consensus to ban it.

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The village administrator will prepare the ban ordinance, and the board will vote on it at an unspecified date. Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said it will be on the general agenda, not a consent agenda, because he suspects representatives from the Sugar Grove American Legion post may want to speak on the matter.

The post has applied to the Illinois Gaming Board for a video-gambling license.

The current Sugar Grove law would allow video gambling, because it specifically permits state-authorized gambling.

The state allows video gambling in places where liquor is sold for consumption on the premises. It also allows it at truck stops and fraternal and veterans halls. Each place can have up to five terminals.

"I would like to be the first to say, 'Let's opt out.' ... We need to keep our focus on what we want for this community," which is family-oriented businesses, trustee Rick Montalto said. "Do we want to become Rosemont?"

Trustees Robert Bohler and David Paluch said they agreed with him. Paluch said some of the gambling games he has seen in bars "are very explicit" and wondered how the state would police establishments so that 18-year-olds couldn't play the games at the American Legion's fish fries.

State law requires the games to be separated from people under 21 and that an employee 21 or older must be able to see the entrance to the area.

Michels pointed out that the village may be perceived as being hypocritical for banning the gambling, which was authorized to support a state capital-spending program, while also asking the state to spend money on its roads, including a long-desired full interchange at Route 47 and Interstate 88. On the other hand, he said, "I don't know if the state is going to get rich on Sugar Grove" allowing video gambling.

Its neighbor to the east, North Aurora, decided last month to allow video gambling. Elburn banned it in 2009. Kane County allows it in unincorporated areas, and two businesses near Sugar Grove -- Calamity Jane's, and the Blackberry Inn -- have applied for licenses.

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