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posted: 8/8/2012 1:56 PM

Gambling: Two trustees say alcohol is more of a problem

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Carpentersville is not ready to place its bets on video gambling -- at least not yet.

Although the village board voted 3-2 Tuesday night against video gambling, Trustee Paul Humpfer left the door open to another vote at the next board meeting.

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He said he'd be willing to reconsider his "no" vote if business representatives at Tuesday night's meeting present him with studies that debunk the ones he found that suggest video gambling means increased crime in communities, which he fears would burden the police department.

After the vote, 10 representatives said they'd do just that, as the machines would help them stay open in this economy and continue their contributions to the community.

"We're not done; we can't let them win," said Laurie Patti, a board member of VFW Ladies Auxiliary Post 5915.

At the meeting, Trustees Humpfer, Pat Schultz and Kay Teeter voted against video gambling.

Schultz cited fears about the state potentially increasing its take on the gambling profits, about driving up pension debt by making unnecessary hires and about the organized crime element that sometimes accompanies gambling.

"Based on our state's history, based on their misbehavior ... I cannot stand for this," Schultz said, adding that she does support small businesses.

Trustees Don Burroway and Brad McFeggan, who voted for the measure, said alcohol creates more problems than video gambling but that nobody's rushing to make Carpentersville a dry town. They also said the studies others cited as reasons for rejecting the measure should be taken with a grain of salt.

"The study ... it even says in here ... that a one-size-fits-all analysis doesn't work in these cases," Burroway said. "This is Carpentersville -- it's not Montana."

Although some area businesses and establishments support video gambling, the biggest one in town is against it.

In a letter to the board, Tom Roeser, owner of Otto Engineering, urged trustees to reject video gambling for the sake of Carpentersville's image.

"As other towns turn down video gaming and Carpentersville allows it, the natural progression will be for more taverns to desire a location in Carpentersville," Roeser wrote. "Increasing the number of taverns is not a good thing for Carpentersville."

Trustee Doug Marks was absent Tuesday night and has missed four consecutive meetings. No reason was given for his absence, and he could not be reached for comment Tuesday night to explain his whereabouts.

The vote was originally supposed to happen a month ago, but it was moved to Tuesday night because of absences at the last two meetings.

Several business owners complained about Marks' absences and wondered whether his presence would have made a difference in the vote.

"He's never been here for us to find it out," said Chris McSwain, owner of Awesome Hand Gaming.

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