The mystery surrounding the Village of Palatine's position regarding video gambling increased when the Palatine American Legion recently applied to the Illinois Gaming Board for a video gaming license, despite Palatine being on their list of those prohibiting video gaming. Palatine added itself to the list in May amid a controversy surrounding a revised ordinance that allegedly permitted video gambling.
To recap, in March Palatine officials amended the Liquor Code to append the clause "unless otherwise exempted by law" to ordinance "Sec. 3-14. Gambling Prohibited. There shall be no card games or gambling allowed on any premises licensed to sell alcoholic liquor."
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While there was no discussion by the council in passing this revision, the agenda packet mentioned allowing "Pull Tabs" as one reason.
While profusely denying video gambling was now allowed, Palatine officials never explained how this new clause could permit "Pull Tabs" and at the same time ban "Video Gaming". They also never identified the "exemptions by law" which this ordinance referenced to minimally permit pull tabs. But a review of ordinances of towns showing as allowing video gaming often have similar language to Palatine's and also provide a reference to the "exemptions to illegal gambling" found in Illinois law 720 ILCS 5/28-1.
While either a simple change to the Village's ordinance to replace "unless otherwise exempted by law" with, for example, "except for Pull Tabs", or passage of the standard "Opt Out" ordinance for video gaming, would quickly put an end to this controversy, Palatine officials have steadfastly refused to do either.
Does this mean that Palatine officials really want to allow video gambling? Should the Illinois Gaming Board ultimately award a video gaming license to the Palatine American Legion, will Palatine officials work very hard to fight it? Only time will tell.