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Article updated: 9/24/2013 4:50 AM

Barrington hears idea of trying video gambling out for a year

What if Barrington allowed a one-year tryout of video gambling in local establishments? Mayor Karen Darch wants to hear more about the idea.

What if Barrington allowed a one-year tryout of video gambling in local establishments? Mayor Karen Darch wants to hear more about the idea.

 

BILL ZARS | Staff Photographer

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Business interests and advocates continued to dominate the discussion at Barrington's village board meeting Monday on the possibility of allowing video gambling at restaurants with liquor licenses in town.

But Village President Karen Darch said letters and emails she's received on the subject have been a bit more balanced.

Darch is hoping to receive more in the weeks ahead -- especially from village residents themselves -- but is still uncertain whether the board will be ready to vote on the issue as originally planned at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14.

One thing Darch wants to investigate further is Monday's suggestion by Jim Carlstrom of Barrington Hills that Barrington allow video gambling for one year to test whether it's comfortable with it.

Darch said she's not sure the village can again legally ban video gambling for liquor license holders after removing that ban.

Kathy Gilroy, a Villa Park resident who's spoken about the dangers of gambling addiction at Barrington's last three meetings, said quite a few lawsuits have been generated in places that tried to take away video gambling machines after allowing them.

Gilroy also spoke about new businesses -- called gambling cafes -- that come into towns and spend very little on food and amenities to compete with existing restaurants with their video machines.

Rick Heidner, the owner of Gold Rush Amusements whose offices are based in Barrington, reminded the board that it still controls who gets a liquor license. He said he operates video gambling machines in more than 100 locations and has had no problems or undesirable incidents at any of them.

Former Barrington Trustee Steve Miller, now a South Barrington resident, said that when Barrington banned video gambling four years ago it was because the state didn't seem to have the infrastructure in place to regulate it.

But Miller argued that has changed, and the machines don't expose anyone to gambling who couldn't find it in many other forms.

"I don't think we're introducing anything new but an opportunity to enjoy the businesses people like to frequent," Miller said.

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