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Article posted: 2/12/2013 5:46 PM

Grand Victoria to give presentation in Elgin

By Elena Ferrarin

In the wake of last month's discussion about allowing video gambling in Elgin, representatives of Grand Victoria Casino scheduled a presentation Wednesday to the city council's committee of the whole.

Casino general manager Jim Thomason will give the presentation, a casino spokeswoman said. Casino officials did not answer questions about the topic of the presentation.

In January, Thomason said Grand Victoria opposes any gaming expansion in Illinois. The casino has seen declining revenues as a result of video gambling, which went live in October, he said.

Last month, council members directed staff members to draft an ordinance, to be ready for the Feb. 27 meeting, that would allow video gambling in Elgin.

Local business owners and fraternal organizations had several meetings with city council members to persuade them to reverse the current ban, which they say negatively affects their bottom line.

Elgin is surrounded by communities that allow video gambling, including Carpentersville, East Dundee, West Dundee, Pingree Grove, South Elgin and Hoffman Estates.

Thirty of the 54 liquor establishments that would be eligible for video gambling in Elgin support reversing the ban, said Mike Flannagan, chairman of the Elgin Video Gaming Committee.

Video gambling is truly a matter of survival for some businesses, said Mike Cook, a member of the Elgin Riverside Club.

"(Grand Victoria) should not want our business to be suffering, or take a chance on the city of Elgin losing business," he said.

Aurora and Joliet, both cities with casinos, allow video gambling. Des Plaines, where a casino was built in July 2011, does not.

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