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updated: 9/19/2012 5:39 PM

Antioch mayor breaks tie vote to approve video gambling

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Antioch will join neighboring Lake Villa and Fox Lake in allowing patrons the opportunity to gamble on video poker machines, but it took Mayor Lawrence Hanson casting a tiebreaking vote to to get it done.

Village officials voted Monday night to allow video gaming in the 15 businesses that decide to install the gambling machines.

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Hanson said he voted in favor of the measure because people should have the right to decide for themselves whether to take part in legal video gambling in the state.

"The state of Illinois has made it legal for people to gamble, so they should have the right to do it in Antioch," Hanson said. "It's also one of those times where, I don't believe people will be attracted to Antioch to gamble, but at the same time, people may not come to or may even leave Antioch if we don't have it."

Video gambling is allowed in licensed bars, restaurants, fraternal organizations and truck stops, thanks to a 2009 state law that was designed to help fund statewide capital improvement and public works projects.

Trustees Scott Pierce, Dennis Crosby and Jay Jozwiak voted with the mayor to approve the gambling ordinance, while trustees George Sakas, Ted Poulos and Mary Dominiak voted against the proposal.

Sakas said the math of who takes what from video gambling what caused him to vote no.

"The village is only taking in 5 percent from gambling, which is only coming out to about $25,000 or $30,000 a year," he said. "That's great for a household budget, but for a municipal budget of $10 million annually, it's not really that much."

Under the law, Antioch businesses will have the right to install up to five village-permitted gambling machines, Hanson explained, each of which are regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board.

Under the latest figures, the state will take 25 percent of the proceeds from gambling at each establishment, while Antioch will keep 5 percent. The remaining 70 percent will be divided between the host business and the owners of the video terminals.

Hanson added he also voted in favor of gambling because he didn't want Antioch left out when it came to statewide improvement projects.

"My concern was that we wouldn't get state capital improvements if we opted out of gambling," he said. "It isn't about the amount of money the village will make from gambling, but more about it being tied to a capital improvement plan."

But, Sakas said he has concerns about what the state will ask for next.

"I find it hard to believe that the state is going to stop at only allowing five video poker machines to operate in a bar," he said. "Rest assured, this will lead to larger, land-based casinos or slot machines at race tracks. They will turn this into something larger, and will say it will help fund other things, just like this did."

This summer, Round Lake Beach, Aurora, Pingree Grove and Carol Stream were among the towns that opted to allow video gambling. Hawthorn Woods, Libertyville, Kildeer, and this week, Lake Zurich, are among those that have voted to ban video gaming.

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