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updated: 5/1/2014 11:57 PM

Higher video gambling liquor license proposed in Lake Zurich

Lake Zurich board may raise gambling license to $1,000

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  • Lake Zurich's village board, which last month decided to allow video gambling, now will decide whether to quadruple the price of a gambling liquor license.

    Lake Zurich's village board, which last month decided to allow video gambling, now will decide whether to quadruple the price of a gambling liquor license.
    Daily Herald file photo

  • Jeffrey Halen

    Jeffrey Halen


Lake Zurich village board members will be asked to quadruple the price for a special video gambling liquor license in bars, restaurants and other establishments.

Recent village research found some suburbs charging more for an annual video gambling liquor license than the $250 fee Lake Zurich established last year. Moreover, Lake Zurich can't charge more than a $25 annual machine fee -- unlike other towns -- because it doesn't have home-rule status.

At a meeting Monday night, Lake Zurich's elected officials will be asked to hike the annual video gambling liquor license from $250 to $1,000 per location.

Representatives of businesses that wanted the gambling devices have indicated they are open to the idea of the costlier license, according to a memo from Lake Zurich management analyst Kyle Kordell.

On April 7, the village board voted 4-1 in favor of reversing an ordinance that had prohibited video slot machines and poker. Based on the $250 special license and a cut of gambling revenue, Lake Zurich was projected to collect $50,000 yearly from the machines.

But before the vote, Trustee Jeffrey Halen questioned why Lake Zurich shouldn't charge more than $250 for the liquor license. He raised the issue after learning that an American Legion post with video gambling machines in nearby Wauconda made about $120,000 last year.

"I would like us to potentially re-evaluate the ($250) fee for this," Halen said. "We charge over $1,000 for a (regular) liquor license."

Lake Zurich's research shows East Dundee and Elk Grove Village have $1,000 video gambling liquor licenses.

Video gambling is permitted in bars, restaurants, truck stops and fraternal orders in communities where it has been approved. A maximum of five devices are allowed.

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.

Mayor Thomas Poynton noted how Lake Zurich is limited to the $25 annual fee that would be placed on each video gambling device because the village doesn't have home-rule authority, which gives more taxing power to local officials. Home rule occurs automatically if a town exceeds a population of 25,000, or by voter approval.

Through home-rule, Algonquin has a $500 annual license fee for each gambling terminal instead of having the special liquor license. Algonquin can receive $2,500 yearly from every location in the village that elects to have the maximum of five machines.

Lake Zurich would get $1,125 from each location operating five machines if the village board approves the proposal for the costlier liquor license.

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

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