Des Plaines mayor delays vote on lifting city's video gambling ban

Des Plaines Mayor Matthew Bogusz on Monday tabled an ordinance that would have allowed video gambling in the city, effectively ending for now a push to lift the town's long-standing ban.

Bogusz later declined to comment on why he tabled the ordinance, which was drafted earlier this year after several alderman said they would support a policy shift.

The measure would have allowed restaurants, bars and fraternal organizations to install video gambling terminals, with the revenues being shared by the city, state and business owners.

Business owners say the machines would keep them competitive with establishments in neighboring communities where video gambling is allowed, including Mount Prospect, Elk Grove Village and Prospect Heights, as well as unincorporated areas of Cook County.

But it's a controversial matter in Des Plaines because the city is home to Rivers Casino, and the machines would compete with the casino on its own turf. Rivers did not respond to requests for comment.

In 2016, Des Plaines officials announced a public-private partnership with Rivers to renovate the Des Plaines Theatre and share the costs. Bogusz said then that he and city officials had reached out to the casino to propose the partnership.

Among those supporting the ordinance are 3rd Ward Alderman Denise Rodd.

"I think it'll eventually pass," Rodd said.

"I understand the business owners' predicament," she added. "We're surrounded by communities that do allow it. I'm in favor of small businesses having gaming."

The measure could be brought up again at a future city council meeting.

"Someone will have to make a motion for it to come back up," said Peter Friedman, the city's general counsel. "It won't come back up unless members request it."

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