Following the example of its neighbors, the Pingree Grove village board has decided to allow video gambling machines in town.
The village board approved an ordinance to that effect, so local businesses can apply for the state-issued licenses, Village Administrator Ken Lopez said. Trustee Joshua Cossiboon was absent.
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"Basically the board felt that it was an opportunity to be competitive with our surrounding community," Lopez said.
The state approved the machines in 2009 for certain establishments, including restaurants with liquor licenses and fraternal organizations, but the state gaming board just recently started accepting applications. Hampshire and Gilberts also recently opted to allow video gambling, as have several other suburbs including Huntley, Fox River Grove, Carol Stream and Elk Grove Village.
The owners of two of the three business in Pingree Grove that are eligible to have video gambling machines spoke in favor of it at the committee of the whole meeting earlier this month.
Among them was Joseph Lazar, of Lazar Brothers Enterprise, which owns Starks Corner gas station and minimart. About 15 to 20 trucks stop there every day, he said. "I don't see why a town would refuse that as long as it's legal to the state and it's extra revenues to the village," Lazar said. "Other truck stops do very well, so I'm sure we'll do OK."
According to data from the Illinois Municipal League quoted by Pingree Grove officials, local revenues to the village are estimated at $2,250 yearly per machine. The state allows up to five video gambling machines per 21 and older establishment.