Bartlett prepares for decision on video gambling
Bartlett trustees made clear Tuesday that their intention is to make a decision via ordinance by the end of next month on whether to ban video gambling in the village.
Village attorney Bryan Mraz agreed to draft an ordinance that would give the village more control on video gambling should trustees choose not to ban it. It will be presented to a board committee July 3 for discussion.
Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Video Gaming Act in 2009, making video-gambling terminals legal in Illinois and putting the Illinois Gaming Board in charge of regulating all video-gambling operations.
Video gambling will only be allowed in places with a valid liquor license during the hours the liquor license is in use.
Mraz plans to include in the ordinance a village fee of $25 per terminal and an amendment to the local Liquor Control Act that would result in a fine or possible liquor license suspension for any business that violates the video-gambling act.
If the village does not take any action before the Illinois Gaming Board begins video-gambling operations, businesses will automatically be allowed to begin video gambling.
Mraz said making a decision one way or the other on video gambling before it becomes operational will help the village avoid potential legal issues.
Steve Bosco, assistant to the village administrator, said he recently spoke with the Illinois Gaming Board and was video gambling could be running in Illinois as early as Aug. 1.
Trustee Patricia Kelly agreed with Mraz's suggestion, saying she doesn't like the idea of just letting video gambling begin in the village without the board taking any action.
"I think that's too dangerous," she said. "I would find taking a step with an ordinance that Bryan is defining to be a better way to go than to just let this happen by default."
Trustee Eric Shipman agreed the board should take a proactive role. He added that he doesn't believe many new law-enforcement concerns will arise if video gambling is approved by the board.
"I think our businesses will handle themselves appropriately with this," he said.
Bosco said some of the businesses that expressed interest in video gambling included Bannerman's Sports Grill, Bracht's Place and Papa Pacino's.
By bringing the ordinance to a July 3 committee meeting, the board hopes to make a final vote on the issue at a July 17 board meeting.
During a meeting in April, the village's Economic Development Commission unanimously recommended to allow video gambling in Bartlett.
Bartlett has potential to gain $258,750 a year if each of the 23 qualified establishments in the village install five video-gambling terminals, the maximum amount allowed by law.