Hoffman Estates parks seek more input on gambling

Updated 2/12/2014 12:02 AM

Hoffman Estates Park District's Recreation Committee delayed a recommendation on allowing video gambling in the bar of the Bridges of Poplar Creek Country Club. The postponement grew out of a desire for more public input on the proposal.

By the time the committee next meets on March 11, staff members expect to have the results of a survey that will soon be emailed to members of the golf course.

Former park district commissioner Robert Steinberg had asked for a survey of all 20,000 people for whom the district has an email address. But officials decided a more focused survey of those who regularly use the club would be more relevant.

Staff members are asking that initial consideration be confined to a one-year trial period of up to five video gambling terminals in the bar.

Steinberg is opposed to even that because the country club -- and even its bar -- is a place where adults sometimes bring their children.

"It sends the wrong message of what this park district is about," Steinberg said. "It's wrong!"

But park district Executive Director Dean Bostrom said no other location is being considered for the gambling terminals than the bar, which already serves alcohol.

"It's a place where adults -- where people who golf -- go afterward to have a beer," Bostrom said.

In terms of risk to the park district, the serving of alcohol poses a significantly higher immediate risk to public safety than the providing of gambling, Bostrom added.

Though no one has specifically asked for gambling at the club, Bostrom said the park district is always on the lookout for new sources of revenue -- such as cellular towers.

It's estimated the gambling terminals could generate between $30,000 to $75,000 per year, of which the park district's share would be entirely invested back into the club, Bostrom said.

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