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updated: 7/11/2014 4:09 PM

Company wants to turn vacant storefront in Island Lake into gambling parlor

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A company that runs video gambling operations throughout Illinois hopes to find Lady Luck in Island Lake.

Representatives of Laredo Hospitality spoke during Thursday's village board meeting about opening a facility in a vacant, 1,400-square-foot storefront on Route 176 near Newport Court.

Trustees took no formal action on the proposal. They told the company to proceed with an application for a liquor license.

The board approved video gambling in May with a 4-3 vote. That move reversed an earlier ban.

Illinois allows video gambling in licensed bars, restaurants, fraternal organizations and truck stops. Each establishment is limited to five machines, and they must be in areas accessible only to people at least 21 years old.

Villages get a small percentage of the money the machines take in. But in many towns, that has amounted to thousands of dollars.

Local boards can vote to outlaw the machines.

Laredo operates 19 gambling cafes in Illinois, using the names Stella's Place and Shelby's. They're in towns including Fox Lake, Waukegan, McHenry, Hoffman Estates, Bartlett and Wheeling.

The Island Lake operation likely would be a Stella's Place, said Charity Johns, the Des Plaines company's vice president of operations.

Company officials think the cafe could generate more than $30,000 in annual revenue for the village, Johns told the Daily Herald.

Laredo would like to open in Island Lake within six months, Village Clerk Teresa Ponio said.

Trustee Mark Beeson was among the board members who repeatedly opposed legalizing gambling in town. In one interview, he compared allowing the machines in town to allowing strip clubs.

But now that the board has legalized the activity, the village should profit from the decision, Beeson said in a telephone interview Friday.

He described Laredo's plans as "upscale looking."

Two other businesses have applied to install gambling machines in Island Lake, Ponio said. Neither has done so yet, however.

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