Palatine voters say no to video gambling

  • JOE LEWNARD/jlewnard@dailyherald.com Palatine voters are saying no to an advisory referendum allowing video gambling in restaurants and bars in the village.

    JOE LEWNARD/jlewnard@dailyherald.com Palatine voters are saying no to an advisory referendum allowing video gambling in restaurants and bars in the village.

 
 
Updated 4/7/2015 11:52 PM

A majority of Palatine voters said they oppose allowing village bars and restaurants to operate video gambling machines, according to unofficial results.

With 44 of 46 precincts counted, 2,518 voters, or 61.1 percent, said no to the question "should Palatine consider video gaming at restaurants and bars with liquor licenses," while 1,603, or 38.9 percent, said yes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The referendum is nonbinding, so the village council could still take up the issue if they wanted to.

The council has stated that they would consider taking up the issue if residents seemed to be in favor of it.

Since the state's video gambling program started, members of the business community have asked the council if they would consider changing the village's zoning code to allow the machines.

Joel Schnell of the Donkey Inn on Plum Grove Road have said the gambling machines could help his establishment's bottom line. Video gambling could "double our income, possibly triple our income, and although it goes mostly to the owners, it does bring a little back to the community," Schnell told village council members earlier this year.

Councilman Greg Solberg said Monday that he voted to put the question to voters to include them in the conversation.

"You'll hear from various establishments asking 'what are you going to do?'" Solberg said. "Let's see what the residents have to say about it."

The council has long taken the "wait-and-see" position on the issue of video gambling in the village. In 2012, around when villages were able to start allowing video gambling in their bars and restaurants, council members said they would wait at least a year before considering joining the program.

Under state law, counties and towns that allow video gambling receive 5 percent of each machine's revenue above what's paid out. The state receives 25 percent, with the rest to be evenly split between establishment owners and the terminal operators.

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