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updated: 4/30/2014 4:30 PM

Lombard board set to reexamine video gaming ordinance

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  • Lombard will reexamine its ban on video gambling during Thursday's village board meeting.

      Lombard will reexamine its ban on video gambling during Thursday's village board meeting.
    Daily Herald file photo

 
 

The Lombard village board will have a chance Thursday to discuss whether video gambling should be allowed in the village.

In 2010, the board approved an ordinance that banned video gambling. Since then, however, there have been requests by trustees to review that ordinance again.

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Trustee Bill Ware said he wants to take another look because more "mechanisms" have been put in place by the state to regulate it since the board last studied the issue.

In addition, he said, there are now other towns that have successfully launched video gambling that the village can look to for direction.

"I want to make sure our businesses are on the same level playing field as all the other businesses in the other neighboring towns," he said, adding that he knows of about a dozen Lombard establishments that are interested in adding the machines.

Video gambling has been approved in 16 DuPage County towns since state lawmakers made it legal in 2009, including the neighboring communities of Addison, Oakbrook Terrace and Villa Park.

It is banned in 18 other DuPage municipalities, including the adjacent towns of Bloomingdale, Downers Grove and Glen Ellyn.

Ware said he has received phone calls from residents who asked him to oppose video gambling.

"I understand their perception too, so I will listen to both sides," he said. "In the long run, we have to listen to both sides, businesses as well as residents."

Still, Ware said he feels video gambling "will do nothing but help the town," adding that if a business makes more money it will help it reinvest in the establishment.

Village officials say the issue of video gambling also has been brought up during several village committee and commission meetings.

Regional and state information about video gambling compiled by village staff has been presented to the board for review prior to Thursday's meeting.

According to the state video gaming act, terminals cannot be operated within 1,000 feet of a school or place of worship. Their use is restricted to people 21 and older and limited to the hours of operation of the establishment in which they are located.

The business owner and terminal operator each receive 35 percent of the revenue that is received from the machine. The state receives 25 percent of the remaining revenue, while 5 percent goes to the local government.

Village Manager Scott Niehaus said there are about 13,000 machines in operation statewide. The average revenue that goes to a municipality from each machine is about $140, although that amount tends to be higher in the Chicago area, he said.

Niehaus said he expects supporters and opponents to be present at Thursday's meeting.

Residents and business owners are welcome to voice their opinion during the meeting, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. at village hall. The meeting will also be available for viewing in real-time on the village's website.

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