North Aurora to decide video gambling question

North Aurora prohibits gambling. North Aurora allows gambling.

Village officials will try to clear up the situation Monday night, examining two conflicting ordinances and the state’s video gambling law. The move comes as the Little Red Schoolhouse barbecue bar and restaurant is asking the state for a video gaming license.

At issue is a 1982 village ordinance that prohibits gambling, and a 2000 village ordinance that prohibits gambling, “except as may be authorized by the state,” anywhere liquor is sold.

When the state allowed video gambling in 2009 at liquor-selling establishments, North Aurora was one of the towns that did not use an opt-out provision. The board decided to wait for the result of an Illinois Supreme Court ruling on the law, and to see how the Illinois Gaming Board was going to regulate it.

The court upheld the constitutionality of the law.

And about a month ago, after receiving an inquiry from the Little Red Schoolhouse, gaming board representatives examined the village’s laws and discovered the 1982 law. Village staffers did more research and discovered the 2000 law.

“We would be right either way,” said Village Administrator Wes Kornowske. Adding to the confusion is that North Aurora has had off-track betting parlors, on and off, since the late 1980s.

On Monday the village board will discuss amending the ordinances to specifically allow video gambling as allowed by the state video-gambling law. The proposal also calls for charging a $25 administrative fee per machine, and makes them subject to the village’s 3-percent amusement tax.

If the village doesn’t prohibit video gambling, it could end up with 55 to 60 machines, spread out at 11 to 12 places. (One business may be too close to the Turf Room off-track betting parlor; state law requires the licensees to be at least 1,000 feet apart.)

At least 19 businesses in Kane County have applied for video-gaming licenses as of June 11, according to the gaming board’s website, Among them are Sergio’s Cantina in Geneva, the Blackberry Inn near Elburn, Calamity Jane’s in Sugar Grove and the Sugar Grove American Legion.

Batavia, Elburn and St. Charles opted out of video gambling in 2009.

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