Video gambling will be allowed in Round Lake Beach, village officials have decided.
While other forms of gambling remain prohibited, officials on Monday voted 4-2 to amend the village code to allow for video gambling. Mayor Richard Hill cast the deciding vote, as a majority of four elected officials were needed to approve it and one trustee was absent.
Hill said people should have the choice of video gambling and since it will be available in nearby communities, it should be offered in Round Lake Beach.
"It just makes sense. You can do what you like as long as you're not hurting someone else," he said. Another consideration is that local businesses could lose if video gambling wasn't available and patrons went elsewhere, he added.
The Video Gaming Act allows for establishments with liquor licenses, such as bars and restaurants, as well as fraternal or veterans organizations and truck stops, to have up to five machines. Sixteen businesses in Round Lake Beach would qualify to apply to the Illinois Gaming Board for a license.
The law passed in 2009 but languished as regulations were established. With the first batch of licensees approved, video gambling is expected to debut within weeks, and communities throughout the region have been deciding whether to allow it.
Host communities receive 5 percent of the net revenue as well as license fees, which could amount to about $80,000 a year for the village, Hill said. Village officials initially considered a $25-per-machine fee but raised it to $50.
Trustee Judy Armstrong voted against amending the village ordinance to allow video gambling.
"Our village has a mission statement. We strive to be a family-oriented community. I believe video gambling is contrary to that goal," she said. Trustee Thomas Smith also voted against the measure and Trustee Jerry Mattingly was absent.
Armstrong said her research showed it to be "one of the most highly addictive forms of gambling" and the presence of video gambling in some businesses could impact others in town that don't have the machines because less money would be spent there.
"It was very, very hard decision because I absolutely do support our businesses and I do support our families," she said. "With all that, I think video gambling does not have a place."