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posted: 9/4/2013 12:05 AM

Bartlett trustees discuss growing number of video gambling bars

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First it was Betty's Bistro and Stella's. Now it's Elsie's Place and Maxine's.

While meeting as the committee of the whole Tuesday, the Bartlett village board heard proposals for two new video gaming bars that would serve light food, beer and wine.

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Elsie's Place would be located at 225 S. Main St. in a former deli unit in Bartlett Town Center. It would include a dining area with 11 seats as well as an entertainment area with five video gaming stations. The proposed hours are 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Maxine's would open at 801 S. Route 59 in a portion of a former Blockbuster store in the Brewster Creek Shopping Center. There would be 30 seats in the dining area and five gaming stations with five additional guest seats. The hours of operation would be the same as Elsie's Place.

There was little discussion about the details of either establishment, however, due to a lengthy discussion that occurred just before the reviews of both proposals.

Village Attorney Bryan Mraz explained in detail the few options the village has for limiting the number of video gambling restaurants through zoning and ordinances.

He said it might be a good idea to require the applicant of any liquor license to state if their intention is to install video gambling machines, and if so, when they plan to do so.

Mraz said he thinks trying to regulate the establishments with the zoning code is "dangerous" and noted the board will need avoid economic protectionism, or supporting current businesses while excluding new ones.

Village President Kevin Wallace and Trustees Eric Shipman and Michael Camerer voted yes to having the board wait to make a decision on Elsie's Place and Maxine's until more discussions on the broader issue of video gambling in the village take place.

"This is a complicated issue," Shipman said, adding that he thinks the village should examine how, and if, the village's existing video gambling establishments are affecting local economics and crime. "I think it's important we just slow down a little bit here."

Trustees Aaron Reinke and Greg Martin voted no to tabling the issue, noting that even if the board wasn't done with their overall video gambling discussions, the proposals for the two new businesses could be getting pushed through the plan commission.

"To the representatives of Elsie's and Maxine's who are here this evening, we do apologize for the inconvenience and delay this may cause. But we'll try to resume the discussion of these three items at the next committee of the whole meeting on Sept. 17," Camerer said.

The board approved Betty's Bistro and Stella's -- establishments with concepts similar to Elsie's Place and Maxine's -- earlier this year. Betty's Bistro will be located at Route 59 and Army Trail Road and Stella's will be located at Route 59 and Stearns Road.

Five businesses in the village -- Moretti's, the Cadillac Ranch, Bracht's Place, Bannerman's and Tipsi Monkey -- have already been granted a state license for video gambling.

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