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posted: 10/30/2013 7:08 PM

Video gambling at Elk Grove golf course edges closer

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  • Five video gambling terminals could be coming to the Fox Run Golf Links clubhouse in Elk Grove Village if approved by the Illinois Gaming Board. If the licenses are granted, Fox Run would be the first publicly-owned course to allow video gambling.

      Five video gambling terminals could be coming to the Fox Run Golf Links clubhouse in Elk Grove Village if approved by the Illinois Gaming Board. If the licenses are granted, Fox Run would be the first publicly-owned course to allow video gambling.
    Daily Herald File Photo

 
 

Fox Run Golf Links in Elk Grove Village could become one of the first publicly owned golf courses in the state to have video gambling machines if approved by the Illinois Gaming Board.

Officials with the Elk Grove Park District, which has operated the golf course at 333 Plum Grove Road since 1983, have been looking into that possibility for more than a year as a way to raise additional revenue.

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Plans call for five video gambling machines to be located within the Fox Den bar and grill in a dedicated area off to the side, according to Mike Brotman, the park district's executive director.

Brotman said the park district's application is pending with the gaming board, which still needs to send Cook County sheriff's deputies to inspect the facility before issuing a license. Once the district's gaming license is approved, Brotman said, it could take another 30 to 45 days to install the machines and get them operating.

Park board commissioners and district staff members have interviewed several video gambling vendors, and the board is expected to vote on a contract with one of them, Gold Rush Amusements, during its Nov. 14 meeting.

The previous board voted 3-1 to go forward with video gambling at Fox Run in November 2012.

Officials estimate the park district could reap between $50,000 and $75,000 a year from the video gambling machines. The district will receive 35 cents of every dollar made. The vendor and the state will each receive 30 cents, and the village will receive 5 cents.

Brotman said the park board is committed to keeping any revenue generated from the video gambling machines in the golf course operations budget.

While the financial performance of Fox Run is better than most publicly owned golf courses, Brotman said it hasn't done as well as it used to. That's partly because a recently completed $2 million golf course renovation project has left at least a portion of the course unavailable for use since 2011.

"Not being open two years previous -- all 18 holes, all season -- we've turned some deficits," he said. "So I think this will help us make sure we continue to keep the latest and greatest equipment, and rotating vehicles out."

The Elk Grove Park District isn't the only governmental entity seeking video gambling licenses. The Chicago Heights Park District has pending applications for video gambling terminals at two golf courses, and the village of University Park is seeking approval for terminals at the University Golf Club and Conference Center, according to the state gaming board website.

A search of the board's website found no other governmental entities currently have video gambling licenses.

Other park districts in the suburbs that operate golf courses "are waiting to see how we do this," Brotman said.

The park district has not yet determined the hours of operation for the Fox Run gambling terminals. State law allows them to be used during the same hours an establishment's liquor license permits alcohol sales.

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