The Rolling Meadows City Council turned down video gambling Tuesday on a tie 3-3 vote broken by Mayor Tom Rooney.
Alderman Mike Cannon of Ward 1 was absent, and two of the council members who voted in favor of allowing video gambling -- Alderman Jim Larsen of Ward 7 and Alderman Brad Judd of Ward 4 -- only seemed lukewarm toward the idea, saying if the measure came up for a second reading they might vote against it based on more information and resident input. There will be no second reading, however, because the ordinance died.
Alderman Laura Majikes of Ward 3 said she was intrigued by the idea of video gambling when it was first proposed in January. But as someone who sells real estate, she said she tells clients that Rolling Meadows is a family community, and she does not think gambling fits that image.
"Rolling Meadows is a tight, family-oriented community. We're not thinking of 'Hey, let's go down and go to this restaurant so we can gamble," Majikes said. "We think 'Let's go to the park.'"
The three aldermen who voted in favor of gambling talked about economic development and the need to find income that was not a tax on residents.
Alderman John D'Astice of Ward 6, who is on the economic development commission, had asked the council to consider video gambling, saying business people he talked to favored the ordinance.
Four people, including two local pastors -- Earl Kopple from Kingdom Life House of Prayer and Andrew Bee of Meadows Christian Fellowship -- spoke against gambling. They quoted President George Washington and studies as old as 1932, saying "easy gambling" would bring ills to residents and the community.
"If six months down the road we find that facts from 1932 are still correct in 2014, there's nothing that says we can't as a council reject the video gambling," D'Astice said.
Judd said the machines could generate income for the city, and the option to have them might lure businesses to fill empty stores. He said in the age of the Internet, it is impossible to keep knowledge of vices from children.
"It's easier to explain to my 16-year-old daughter what somebody's doing at a gambling machine than what Miley Cyrus is doing on TV," Judd said.