Bartlett ordinance approval readies village for video gambling

The Bartlett village board approved an ordinance Tuesday that gives the village the ability to locally enforce violations of the Illinois Gaming Act when video gaming becomes operational in the state.

The ordinance essentially does three things. First, it makes a violation of the gaming act a violation of the village's liquor control ordinance too, resulting in fines and/or the suspension of the establishment's liquor license. Fines within a 12-month period range from $1,000 for the first violation to $2,500 for the third.

The ordinance also excludes video gambling terminals from the village's definition of amusement devices.

Thirdly, it requires businesses with video gambling terminals to pay the village an annual $25 registration fee per machine and to have a village video gambling license issued to them by the village administrator.

All businesses that want a video gambling license from the village will need to have and maintain a valid video gambling terminal license from the state, a valid state liquor license and a valid village liquor license at all times.

Before the decision, one audience member, Kathy Gilroy of Villa Park, spoke out against video gambling, saying it can cause problems ranging from addiction and bankruptcy to child abuse and divorce.

“Convenience gambling is even more harmful than gambling at traditional casinos,” she said. “Those who would profit from gambling's losses are the only ones clamoring for these machines. You will only hear from your local families in the future, when they appeal to you for help after their spouses lose everything to your gambling machines.”

Trustee Dennis Nolan said he felt, based on the village's history, that it is difficult to take a license of any sort away from a business after it has been issued, even if the business is in violation.

“I think there's some concern there, for me, relative to, will this really stick if we run into a problem?” he said.

Trustee Patricia Kelly reminded the board that video gambling machines will give the businesses where they are installed extra income. Some bars that have already expressed an interest in video gambling include Bannerman's Sports Grill and Bracht's Place.

The village will also reap some benefits from video gambling. If each of Bartlett's 23 qualified establishments installs five video-gambling terminals, the maximum amount allowed by law, the village has potential to gain $258,750 a year.

The ordinance was passed 5-1, with Nolan being the only trustee to vote no.

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