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updated: 4/4/2014 5:06 PM

Video gambling to get another look by Lake Zurich village board

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  • Thomas Poynton

      Thomas Poynton

  • Elise Bouc

      Elise Bouc

  • Fred Robinson

      Fred Robinson

 
 

Although Lake Zurich prohibits video gambling in bars, restaurants and other places, the village board intends to reconsider that stance next week.

Trustees are set to discuss whether video gambling should be permitted in the village at a meeting at 7 p.m. Monday. In 2012, a different set of village board trustees voted 4-0 in favor of continuing to prohibit video slot machines and poker.

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Mayor Thomas Poynton said some in the business community have expressed a desire for the village to repeal the video gambling ban for competitive reasons, because it's allowed in some nearby towns. The village board agreed last month to address the topic now.

"I'm willing, pretty much, to let the chips fall where they may," Poynton said.

Last year, Lake Zurich's liquor code was amended to include a license classification for establishments with video gambling machines if they are ever allowed by the village board.

Before the village board acted on the liquor license classification at the September meeting, activist Elise Bouc spoke against the move. As part of her position against the machines, she cited a female friend whose husband was a gambler and lost everything.

At the same September meeting, Copper Fiddle Distillery co-owner Fred Robinson of Hawthorn Woods asked the village board to "let the adult make the choice" in supporting the gambling devices.

Video gambling is permitted in bars, restaurants, truck stops and fraternal orders in communities where it has been approved. Five percent of net revenue goes to a municipality and 25 percent to the state, with the terminal operator and licensed establishment splitting the remainder.

Wauconda, Mundelein, Lakemoor and Fox Lake are towns not far from Lake Zurich that allow the gambling machines. Kildeer, Hawthorn Woods, Long Grove and Barrington are among the area villages prohibiting the devices.

In an unscientific poll conducted by village staff, 101 respondents were opposed, 94 in favor and two had no opinion when asked if video gaming should be authorized in Lake Zurich.

If Lake Zurich were to allow video poker and slot machines, Beelow's Steakhouse, Scoreboard Bar & Grill, American Legion Post 964 and White Alps Restaurant would be among the places eligible to participate, according to a village report. The village staff has no recommendation on the issue for the elected officials.

American Legion Senior Vice Commander Jim Lumsden said Friday the organization remains supportive of allowing video gaming in Lake Zurich, as it has since 2012. He said the post already hosts poker and bingo nights.

"We are watching the gaming machine license discussions closely and are evaluating its potential for us," Lumsden said. "We will need to consider a lot of other things to assure that such a venture would be viable, but that prospect could lead to having the post open to the public on a more regular basis."

Opposition comments in the village poll regarding the devices include concerns about the machines ruining Lake Zurich's family, bedroom community image and social ills connected to gambling.

Twitter: @DHBobSusnjara

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