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updated: 9/10/2013 5:11 AM

Barrington businesses asking for video gambling

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  • Barrington officials are in the process of soliciting public input on video gambling after several local bars urged them to reconsider the village's ban. Business owners say the ban puts them at a disadvantage to establishments in other towns that allow video gambling.

       Barrington officials are in the process of soliciting public input on video gambling after several local bars urged them to reconsider the village's ban. Business owners say the ban puts them at a disadvantage to establishments in other towns that allow video gambling.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

 
 

Barrington trustees on Monday heard from several businesses in support of allowing video gambling in the village, as well as from one out-of-town critic.

But they still hope to hear more of what their own residents think about the issue in the next few weeks before an anticipated Oct. 14 decision.

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Bryan McGonigal, owner of McGonigal's Pub in Barrington, said he and the owner of the Blue Heron Cafe & Lounge got a petition of support signed from nearly all 19 liquor license holders in the village who'd be eligible for video gambling terminals.

"It helps businesses like mine stay competitive in the region," McGonigal said. "There's not a lot of entertainment options in the town. It's a small town, I get that."

He added that he feels it's important to making video gambling a true attraction to Barrington that the village stay ahead of the curve and allow its use before it's literally everywhere.

Neighboring Fox River Grove, East Dundee, Hoffman Estates and unincorporated Lake County are already allowing it.

Fred Hoffmann of Barrington Hills, CEO of Schaumburg-based Ala Carte Entertainment, said many of the restaurants and bars his company runs are responsibly and effectively making use of video gambling. When he looks for places to expand, he starts with the communities that are allowing video gambling, he said.

But Kathy Gilroy of Lake Villa asked trustees to think of the majority of their residents whose lives could potentially be hurt by gambling rather than the minority voices of the village's restaurant owners.

Gilroy said established gambling addicts are already going to casinos rather than such businesses, but that the spread of such gambling machines allows even more people to become addicted.

Gilroy said that while the business owners talk about the possibility of they and the village making more revenue, the $146 million lost by Illinois gamblers each year represents lost sales to other businesses.

Trustee Pete Douglas said he asks people he runs into what they think, and none have been in favor.

But trustees asked for others to express their opinions by letter, email or in person at their next meeting at 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23, at village hall, 200 S. Hough St.

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