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posted: 1/8/2014 4:22 PM

Bartlett moves to restrict video gambling

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  • Concerned about the spread of video gambling in the village, Bartlett leaders are crafting stricter standards that could include increased fees for operators and a tougher process to obtain a permit. One possible regulation: requiring new businesses that seek a video gambling permit to develop bars or restaurants with commercial-grade kitchens.

      Concerned about the spread of video gambling in the village, Bartlett leaders are crafting stricter standards that could include increased fees for operators and a tougher process to obtain a permit. One possible regulation: requiring new businesses that seek a video gambling permit to develop bars or restaurants with commercial-grade kitchens.
    Daily Herald File Photo

 
 

Fearing that Bartlett could turn into what one official called a "mini Las Vegas," village leaders are crafting stricter standards for video gambling.

Trustees have taken issue with the influx of video gambling machines in town. Nearly 20 terminals have popped up in Bartlett, generating about $3,600 in revenue for the village in November.

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Now, the village board has proposed restrictions that would raise fees for operators and toughen the process to secure village permits.

Village President Kevin Wallace wants to ensure future operators develop bars or restaurants that complement the gambling side of the business. One regulation under review would require a commercial-grade kitchen in new facilities.

"That actually answers a lot of our concerns about making sure that there is a big investment," Wallace said. "…It's much harder to walk away from that kind of a setup."

Another proposed rule would charge an annual tax on each machine within the village. The state allows up to five terminals in a business with a liquor license.

Developers currently have to seek a special-use permit to open a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol in commercial areas. Trustees also are weighing whether to have developers seek an additional permit for video gambling.

"It doesn't go backward and place an undue burden on our current establishments or any of the balls that are already rolling," Trustee Eric Shipman said.

The village board on Tuesday directed staff to craft an ordinance outlining the regulations. Before trustees vote on the measure, the zoning board would have to conduct a public hearing.

Meanwhile, Stella's is the latest video gambling cafe slated to debut in Bartlett. Laredo Hospitality is expected to unveil the venue within the next few weeks at the intersection of Route 59 and Stearns Road.

The village board also granted the Des Plaines-based company a liquor license for Maxine's, a gaming cafe with a similar menu that developers hope to open in six months in the Brewster Creek Shopping Center.

Laredo CEO Gary Leff said he respects the board's move to regulate video gambling, but argued the marketplace will shape the quality of establishments. Six have set up shop in Bartlett, but one has since closed.

"If there's too many locations or too many machines out there, only the best will survive," he said.

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