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Article posted: 2/20/2013 9:08 PM

Mundelein board candidates divided on video gambling

By Russell Lissau

The seven candidates running for seats on Mundelein's village board are split on the issue of video gambling in town.

Two favor it. Three oppose it, and one doesn't have a strong opinion one way or the other.

The controversial issue came up Wednesday during Daily Herald candidate interviews.

Three seats will be on the April 9 ballot, and all carry 4-year terms.

The candidates are: Dawn Abernathy; Kerry A. Garesche; Gregory S. Jacobs; Holly Kim; Alexander Kvasnicka; Jim Nutschnig; and Raymond T. Semple. Nutschnig and Semple are incumbents.

In October 2012, the village board voted 4-3 to allow local bars, restaurants and fraternal organizations to install video gambling machines for customers.

Kim favors legalization. If people can gamble elsewhere, she said, "why not have them spend their dollar here in Mundelein?"

Kvasnicka supports legal video gambling, too. He touted the possible revenue for the village, but he also took a libertarian approach to the issue.

"I don't think it's the government's job to tell people what to do," he said. "If businesses want to put (the machines) in, they should be able to."

Abernathy said she'd vote to repeal the village ordinance allowing video gambling if given the chance.

Short of that opportunity, she said she opposes any increase in the amount of video gambling allowed in town, and she said the activity "needs to be strictly policed."

Abernathy also doubts it will be the money generator proponents have predicted.

Jacobs opposes local video gambling, too. He referred to the proponents who spoke in favor of the ordinance last year as "foreign entities" who don't live in Mundelein.

Nutschnig voted against video gambling last year and stood by the vote.

"We have casinos in this state," he said. "We have Las Vegas. We have Atlantic City. We don't need that kind of influence in this community."

If entrepreneurs say they need video gambling to survive, Nutschnig wondered if such businesses are needed in Mundelein.

Semple voted against legalizing gambling, too, and his stance hasn't changed. He's concerned the laws could be changed to allow more machines in each establishment or to allow other types of devices, like slot machines.

"I just think it's a dangerous thing," he said.

Garesche expressed no firm objections to video gambling, but she doesn't see the activity as an economic salve, either.

"It seems sort of low brow," she said.

Garesche said she's inclined to vote to repeal the ordinance but could be swayed by businesses that show the revenue is vital to their financial success.

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