Lakemoor overturns video gambling ban to clear path for the devices
Lakemoor trustees overturned a long-standing ordinance prohibiting video gambling brought to their attention after a business was mistakenly given a video gaming license.
The amendment to the ordinance was approved 4-2 Thursday and sets a village registration fee of $25 per machine. It also includes provisions for the location of the devices to allow for a buffer between gamblers and patrons under the age of 21.
The topic surfaced after Tony Patti, owner of Rosati's, 28948 W. Route 120, approached the board after being surprised earlier this month when he received a license, only to find out video gambling was outlawed in Lakemoor.
"I said 'We're not looking to circumvent any laws,'" Patti said. "We followed the letter of the law from the start."
Illinois Gaming Board spokesman Gene O'Shea said the board didn't want to give out licenses in towns that had banned gambling and had rejected about 250 applications from such towns.
But as dozens of suburbs continue to weigh gambling bans and change their minds, the gaming board missed Lakemoor.
"This one fell through the cracks," O'Shea said.
Lakemoor is one of many suburbs taking a side on the video gambling issue, with Prospect Heights, Wauconda and Fox Lake recently passing ordinances in favor of the games.
"We knew it was something that was going to be coming up, as every town is dealing with the same issue," Mayor Todd Weihofen said. "I personally don't think it's going to be as bountiful as everyone believes."
Weihofen said while he sees the positives of the village receiving 5 percent of the net revenue, he is concerned about the "negative culture" and potential for gambling addiction.
In his case, Patti said, he sees it as business venture and an attraction for customers.
"I don't think these venues will attract gamblers that are addicted to gambling," he said. "It'll be more of a novelty. People will pop in there, try a few bucks at the machine and that's it. The payouts on these machines -- the stakes are lower."
Patti said his gaming room, which will have five games, will be ready by early August.
Trustee Matthew Dabrowski voted against the amendment and said he felt the village should have taken more time to research and review the subject to potentially make the ordinance more restrictive. For example, he said, one possibility could have been requiring business to obtain a conditional use permit, so the village could monitor every situation case-by-case.
Despite mixed feelings on the issue, Weihofen said he hopes the ordinance will help local businesses.
"I'm hoping it will provide some relief to our business owners, so they can stay in business," he said. "Obviously revenues are down everywhere, and they're looking for alternate sources to help them stay alive."