Gilberts establishments prepare for video gambling
With licensed gambling officially legal in Gilberts, two bars and a fraternal organization are just waiting for the state to process their requests before installing the machines.
Bob Sroka, president of the Gilberts Fraternal Order of Eagles and gaming manager, said the license application is in, fingerprinting is done and now the club is waiting on background checks and a site inspection before being able to order five gambling machines.
The state approved the machines for bars, truck stops and fraternal organizations in 2009 but the state gaming board just recently started accepting applications, leaving municipalities that don't want to allow gambling in their towns to opt out of the state program.
Village President Rick Zirk said board members didn't want to handicap local businesses by opting out. They cleaned up existing ordinances in July to make clear state approved gambling would be allowed.
The Eagles was one of three Gilberts establishments to immediately submit applications to the state board. Sroka said he hopes to entice members who spend more time at other area clubs that don't have the machines into Gilberts where they're allowed.
"We're hoping we can get a little money to help pay our mortgage every month," Sroka said. "Their predictions are $3,000 to $5,000 per month."
Only members are allowed into The Eagles club but the gambling will be open to customers at The Point Bar and Grill on East Higgins Road and Cruisin' Route 72 Bar and Eatery on Galligan Road if the state approves their licenses.
Rob Lange has owned and operated Cruisin' Route 72 for 10 years, and also hopes to pull customers from cities like Elgin that banned gambling.
"Anybody who wants to go to a bar now that's deciding between Elgin and Gilberts, they might end up coming out here instead," Lange said.
Lange plans to start with three machines and see how it goes before adding the two more he is allowed by law.
A major backlog at the state level has kept the timeline unknown for local businesses. Sroka hopes The Eagles can have the machines in by September and operational the following month.
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