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Article posted: 2/4/2013 10:25 PM

Elburn may undo ban on video gambling

By Susan Sarkauskas

Elburn is considering reversing its ban and allowing video gambling.

The village board agreed to have its staff bring a proposed ordinance to the committee of the whole next week.

The matter was brought up by Trustee Jeff Walther, who voted for the ban in 2009. Of the four who favored the ban, only he and William Grabarek remain on the board.

"It had to do with the fact there were so many unanswered questions out there," including how the state was going to regulate it, said President Dave Anderson.

Walter said he was asked by two business owners to revisit the issue. He said state regulations have "changed quite a bit" since 2009.

Also, Kane County decided to allow video gambling, so there are bars and restaurants in unincorporated areas near Elburn that do, or plan, to have the machines. The Blackberry Inn, just south of town, was one of the first licensees to get machines up and running this past fall.

"They have got it, and we don't. Are we losing potential tax dollars and customers?" Walter said.

Grabarek said he, too, is willing to reverse his vote. "I don't want to do anything to injure our business community if I can help it," he said, although he still has doubts about how much money the village would receive from the machines.

"Given the slow slog back to some sort of new (economic) normal, so we stop seeing the emptying of the storefronts in this town, I would consider it."

In September 2009, the board voted 4-2 to ban video gambling. There was a deadline at the time for towns and counties to opt out and Grabarek feared if Elburn didn't act then, the state would take away the ability to later ban it. Grabarek also said video gambling didn't fit with Elburn's wish to be a wholesome, family-oriented town.

Sugar Grove, Elburn's neighbor to the south, is allowing video gambling until the results of an April advisory referendum on the matter come in. Geneva and Batavia have banned it.

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