A St. Charles fraternal organization asked aldermen to consider permitting video gambling at their lodge, but aldermen quickly killed any discussion of the request Monday.
Members of the struggling St. Charles Moose Lodge cited ordinances in New Lenox and Evergreen Park as models for a similar St. Charles law.
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The lodge, located on Route 38, has about 2,000 members, according to its most recent newsletter. But tight finances recently caused the lodge to stop serving lunch, lay off a cook and increase prices for the meals it continues to provide.
With some members threatening to quit because of the price changes, lodge representatives decided to seek a new way to make money.
Mayor Ray Rogina said he would ask city staff members to research the possible consequences of the lodge members' proposal if there was no objection. That's when Aldermen Jim Martin and Rita Payleitner spoke up.
"I object very strongly to the process of allowing video gambling in St. Charles," Martin said.
Payleitner followed by calling video gambling "the sucker's game."
"You don't even want to discuss the matter?" Rogina asked.
"No," Payleitner said.
"Nor I," Martin agreed. "The people who lose in this adventure are the people who can least afford it. We don't need it in St. Charles to survive."
With the objections noted, Rogina asked if any other aldermen would make a motion for staff members to research a video gambling option for the Moose lodge. No alderman responded.
Rogina expressed disappointment in the lack of action, but he said he wouldn't force the issue without support from the city council.
Rogina said during his mayoral campaign last year that he would not support video gambling in any city tavern. But he said he would consider it if a social organization, such as the Moose, wanted to have video gambling and would use part of the revenue to support local social service agencies.
On Monday, he noted video gambling may be a more attractive option than raising property taxes if the city ever found itself in dire need of new income.
"I think it's healthy to have conversation on any topic," Rogina said. "To shut that down, in my mind, isn't good."