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posted: 9/4/2013 5:30 AM

Barrington to discuss allowing video gambling

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Barrington officials Tuesday set the stage for a month of public input and discussion on whether to reconsider allowing video gambling in the village.

Some local bars, including McGonigal's Pub and The Blue Heron Cafe & Lounge, have asked for the reconsideration of Barrington's current ban so as not to lose business to nearby communities that do allow video gambling.

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Those closest to Barrington include Fox River Grove, East Dundee, Hoffman Estates and unincorporated Lake County.

"The businesses want it," Barrington Economic Development Director Peg Blanchard said. "They're the ones who brought it forward."

But opposition is also anticipated from gambling critics, like a Villa Park woman who attended Tuesday's meeting in Barrington to argue that the spread of gambling venues increases the number of addicts.

"At a 1 percent addiction rate, which 100 Barrington neighbors are you willing to sacrifice on the altar of profit?" Kathy Gilroy asked. "Do you rank profits for a route operator and Barrington bars as more important than a friend who loses everything to gambling?"

Barrington Police Chief David Dorn said that among the nearby communities allowing video gambling that he checked with, none reported any police calls being generated by the devices.

The village board plans to hear a staff presentation and public input on video gambling in Barrington at its 8 p.m. meeting Monday, Sept. 9, at village hall, 200 S. Hough St.

This will be followed by another meeting of board discussion and more public input at 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23, Village Manager Jeff Lawler said.

At this point, a vote on an ordinance seems most likely at the meeting of 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, he added.

Only businesses with liquor licenses are eligible to have up to five video gambling terminals per establishment.

Presently there are 19 eligible businesses in the village. But a more likely number of how many would want such devices is estimated at closer to five, Blanchard said.

Illinois collects a 30 percent tax on the revenue from each device. One sixth of that is paid back to the municipality, with the rest going to the state's capital projects fund.

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