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posted: 4/12/2013 4:40 PM

Cermak wants video gambling in Island Lake, but board not ready to vote

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  • Island Lake Trustee Chuck Cermak wants to allow local bars to install video gambling machines like these. Trustees haven't yet voted on the issue.

      Island Lake Trustee Chuck Cermak wants to allow local bars to install video gambling machines like these. Trustees haven't yet voted on the issue.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Charles Cermak

    Charles Cermak


Island Lake Trustee Chuck Cermak again is lobbying his peers on the board to allow video gambling in town.

Cermak broached the often-controversial subject during Thursday night's board meeting, saying he's been asked by customers at his barber shop and other residents if officials plan to allow the machines in the village.

Video gambling is allowed in licensed bars, restaurants, fraternal organizations and truck stops under a 2009 state law that was designed to help fund statewide public works improvements. A fraction of proceeds will go to local communities.

Each establishment is limited to five machines, and they must be in an area accessible only to people at least 21 years old.

Municipal boards can vote to outlaw video gambling if they choose.

Island Lake's trustees took no action Thursday. It's clear Cermak is a fan, though.

"There's programs out there that could use the money," said Cermak, who raised the issue in May 2012, too.

In Lake County, gambling machines can be found in Antioch, Fox Lake, Lake Villa, North Chicago, Round Lake, Round Lake Heights, Wauconda and Waukegan.

Officials in Hawthorn Woods, Libertyville, Lake Zurich and Kildeer are among those who opted to ban the machines. The Lake County Board has banned video gambling in unincorporated areas, too.

Some critics have attacked video gambling on moral grounds. Cermak doesn't share those qualms.

"If you buy a Lotto ticket, that's gambling," he said.

During Thursday's discussion Trustee Thea Morris suggested the town's parks would be suitable beneficiaries for gambling revenue.

After asking a few questions about the video gambling rules, Trustee Laurie Rabattini suggested any debate or decision be delayed until after Mayor-elect Charles Amrich and three new trustees take office in early May.

The Daily Herald asked the trustees-elect -- Mark Beeson, Keith Johns and Tony Sciarrone -- about video gambling during the recent campaign.

Beeson called video gambling "a dishonest way to tell people it's going to help (the town)."

Johns and Sciarrone said they didn't know enough about video gambling to have opinions.

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