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Article updated: 6/21/2013 10:39 AM

Streamwood repeals ban on video gambling devices

Suburb joins neighbors in repealing ban

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After hearing from local business owners and reviewing what nearby municipalities have done, the Streamwood village board approved an ordinance Thursday lifting the village's ban on video gambling devices.

In 2009, the Illinois Video Gaming Act made licensed video gambling legal at certain liquor establishments, truck stops and fraternal or veterans clubs, but local municipalities are able to prohibit it.

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Streamwood has prohibited video gambling devices since 2004. Village officials decided to reconsider the ban after the neighboring communities of Bartlett, Hanover Park, Elgin and Hoffman Estates started to allow video gambling terminals.

Representatives from Chicago Loop Sports Bar and Grill, Streamwood Bowl and VFW 5151 made statements at the June 6 village board meeting, as did local video gambling terminal operator Rick Heidner of Gold Rush Amusements and an attorney who specializes in gaming.

Village Manager Gary O'Rourke said there were concerns brought up about how Streamwood's ban on video gambling devices put eligible businesses at a disadvantage.

"The biggest concern was losing their current customers and clientele," O'Rourke said of the business owners. "They were concerned that instead of people coming in for a sandwich and watching a football game in Streamwood, they're going to go to Bartlett or Elgin or somewhere else because they have the added opportunity to take part in the video gaming."

It is estimated that less than a dozen businesses in Streamwood qualify to have video gambling terminals.

"We'll notify the state that the village will allow (qualified businesses) to apply, and then the state will accept applications, although I understand that it's a lengthy process and quite time-consuming to get through," O'Rourke said.

For those that choose to apply, an annual license fee of $150 per terminal will be imposed by the village. Up to five terminals can be installed at eligible locations. They must be in an area that is restricted to people age 21 and older.

Five-sixths of the tax collected from the devices go toward the state's capital projects fund, while the remaining one-sixth goes to the Local Governmental Video Fund.

Each municipality that allows video gambling receives a proportionate share of the Local Governmental Video Fund revenue, based on the tax revenue generated by video gaming within the municipality.

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