Trustees recommend Schaumburg allow video gambling

By a 4-2 vote, Schaumburg trustees Tuesday recommended replacing the village's outright ban on video gambling for the past seven years with a set of lesser regulations.

The village board could formally adopt the new rules at its meeting next Tuesday, Sept. 24, allowing them to take effect on Jan. 1.

The votes against the proposal came from Trustees Marge Connelly and Mark Madej, who'd voiced a number of concerns about the allowance of so-called gambling cafes where the machines would be the primary business and whatever food and beverages they might serve secondary.

Connelly said she found such businesses predatory on gambling addicts and wished them to be excluded from consideration. Madej said their allowance seemed to contradict the premise that overturning the gambling ban was a way of helping existing Schaumburg restaurants and hotels compete with those in neighboring towns that already had video gambling.

Resident Matt Steward, who lost in his run for mayor in April, said he stood by his platform of maintaining Schaumburg's ban, adding that he'd met many on the campaign trail who were proud of it.

But Mayor Tom Dailly and Trustee George Dunham responded that Schaumburg residents already are gambling at out-of-town venues. Dunham challenged anyone to find a part of Schaumburg where a resident would have to travel more than a mile to gamble in a neighboring town.

The village plans to allocate up to half of its $500 annual fee per machine for the treatment of gambling addiction among residents. The village also would put all tax revenue collected in an arts and entertainment fund.

The proposed regulations would allow existing hotels and restaurants with liquor licenses to have up to six machines after Jan. 1. New businesses would have to wait until Jan. 1, 2021.

Among the gambling cafes that could come in, those fronted by a Schaumburg resident also would be allowed on Jan. 1, 2021, while those run by nonresidents would have to wait until 2022 unless they apply for a waiver based on their standing in other towns.

New cafes would have to be 1,500 feet from any other gambling license holder and be a minimum 2,500 square feet in size.

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