E. Dundee OKs video gambling by 4-3 vote
Wal-Mart's plans to open a super center in nearby Carpentersville was enough for two East Dundee village board members to change their minds about keeping video gambling out of town.
As a result, the village board narrowly approved the measure by a 4 to 3 vote Monday night.
Village President Jerald Bartels and Trustee Paul VanOstenbridge noted that Wal-Mart's intention to leave East Dundee was a determining factor in their decision to welcome video gambling.
Walmart contributes about $850,000 in various annual revenues to East Dundee, but that money will stop flowing in 2015 once the corporation opens its planned store in Carpentersville.
Video gambling is expected to bring $60,000 in annual revenue to East Dundee, a figure that will help shore up the money lost from Wal-Mart's move.
"I've been against this from the beginning but considering our predicament now with Wal-Mart, every little bit helps," VanOstenbridge said.
Trustees Michael Ruffulo and Lael Miller voted for it as a way to avoid losing customers to other communities — including neighboring Carpentersville, which recently allowed video gambling.
But trustees Rob Gorman, Allen Skillicorn and Jeff Lynam voted to keep the ban in place.
Lynam didn't want to set the precedent of reversing what the public already said it wanted in an advisory referendum, which was to keep video gambling out.
"That's a real dangerous plank to walk, and I'm not willing to walk it," Lynam said.
When video gambling was brought to the board earlier this summer, the majority of trustees said they would not overturn the results of the referendum.
But in one weekend, several business owners were able to gather 650 signatures in hopes of putting the question on the November ballot.
Although business owners missed the deadline for it to be decided in the upcoming election, the show of support was enough for the board to take up the matter again.
After the vote, an overjoyed Richard Calendo, owner of Calendo's Corner, smiled and did two fist pumps.
"I was very appreciative of the board, because I think the business people on a whole need the opportunity to take care of our customers and keep them in the village of East Dundee," Calendo said, "And I'm very, very happy that the board voted for gaming to support our local businessmen."
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