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updated: 9/24/2012 10:28 PM

Mundelein delays video gambling vote

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  • Video gambling machines have begun appearing in suburban bars and other establishments. They could be in Mundelein soon.

       Video gambling machines have begun appearing in suburban bars and other establishments. They could be in Mundelein soon.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 
 

Despite publicly supporting video gambling earlier this month, Mundelein officials on Monday indefinitely delayed a vote that would allow bar and restaurant owners to install the machines in their establishments.

The vote came after roughly an hour of sometimes impassioned public comments on the controversial issue. Most of the people who spoke on the matter -- including a pair of pastors from local churches -- urged trustees not to let the machines into town.

All five trustees who attended Monday's meeting shared their opinions, too.

Steve Lentz was the strongest opponent, as he has been in the past. He talked about the risks of addiction, bankruptcy and crime.

"Without the addicts, it doesn't work," Lentz said.

Trustee Ed Sullivan again was a leading proponent of allowing video gambling in town. For him, it's a matter of individual freedom. "Less government, lower taxes and more freedom should be the basis of any elected official's decision-making process," he said.

Although she's voiced support for video gambling in the past, it was Trustee Terri Voss who suggested the vote be postponed. The rest of the board agreed.

Trustee Ray Semple, who has opposed the proposal, was absent.

Video gambling is allowed in licensed bars, restaurants, fraternal organizations and truck stops under a 2009 state law that was designed to help fund statewide public works improvements. A fraction of proceeds will go to local communities. Village and county boards don't have to vote to legalize such gambling, but they do have to vote to ban it.

Many suburban governments have taken that step, including those in Hawthorn Woods, Libertyville, Lake Zurich and Kildeer.

The Lake County Board has banned video gambling in unincorporated areas, too.

This summer, Round Lake Beach, Aurora, Pingree Grove and Carol Stream were among the towns that opted to allow video gambling.

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