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updated: 2/21/2013 2:03 PM

Algonquin releases video gambling study, could take vote in March

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  • The Algonquin village board is prepared to give final input on a proposed law that would allow video gambling, before taking a possible vote in March. Algonquin took six months to compile an analysis to see how video gambling impacted nearby communities.

       The Algonquin village board is prepared to give final input on a proposed law that would allow video gambling, before taking a possible vote in March. Algonquin took six months to compile an analysis to see how video gambling impacted nearby communities.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 
 

Algonquin officials have completed an analysis on how video gambling was faring in neighboring towns, leading up to a possible March vote on whether to allow it in their village.

The analysis looked at the impact video gambling was having in Kane, McHenry and Lake counties over a six-month period.

When it came to crime, the analysis concluded there were no noticeable increases in calls for police service since the terminals went live, though the machines had only been active for a month or two at the time of the study.

Carpentersville, East Dundee, West Dundee, Sleepy Hollow, Gilberts, Hampshire and Pingree Grove approved video gambling after the state regulated it last year.

The Algonquin study looked at the 84 terminals that were in operation across the region from October through December, and determined revenues continued to increase as more machines went online.

"The main reason that I'm supporting it is to support our businesses," Algonquin Trustee Robert Smith said. "Most of the surrounding communities have also embraced this, so it also gives our local businesses an even chance."

Algonquin Trustee Jerry Glogowski and Village President John Schmitt aren't sold.

"Gambling isn't one of the things that I have envisioned for the village of Algonquin," Schmitt said, adding that the board rejected off-track betting in the past. "We've got a board of seven people and we've got businesses in town that are very much in favor of having video gambling. Everybody's got their own opinion on it."

Establishments licensed to serve alcohol are the only ones allowed to have video gaming terminals, and there are 42 such venues in Algonquin.

Jeff Battaglia, owner of the Riverview Restaurant and Tavern, would love to see video gambling become a reality since times have been tough at the eatery in this economy, he said.

"We're not just on Main Street in Algonquin, we are a Main Street American business, Battaglia said. "If the state of Illinois wants to throw the small businesses a bone to generate some extra revenue, I think it's welcome."

The village board next meets March 5.

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