Rolling Meadows still out of video gambling business

Posted7/20/2016 5:58 AM

Although more suburbs are jumping on board with video gambling, a majority of Rolling Meadows trustees are still against bringing it to the city.

Alderman John D'Astice asked for a discussion on the topic during Tuesday's committee of the whole meeting because the city had not talked about it since 2014.


"A few more cities have done it since then. We still have an opportunity to create additional revenue for the city without having to tax residents," D'Astice said.

Resident Dale Engelking spoke up in support of the idea as well.

"With the racetrack and casinos being so close, I feel like if people are going to gamble, they're going to gamble," Engelking said. "This might be another restaurant or entertainment venue that can bring business to the city."

On the other side, Alderman Robert Banger said he likes the "pride" of being in a small town with strong family values and doesn't want video gambling to change that. Others said they were not in favor of the idea any more than during the last discussion.

In 2014, video gambling was rejected after a 3-3 tie was broken by Mayor Tom Rooney against the idea.

"I'm not in favor of this last time and I'm still not," Rooney said. "I just don't think it's that grand of a revenue source."

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Rooney also said that while other suburbs like Buffalo Grove and Elk Grove allow video gambling, the towns that surround Rolling Meadows -- such as Arlington Heights, Schaumburg and Palatine -- do not.

"I just don't think it's going to generate enough money to make it worth our while," Rooney said.

In the end, only D'Astice and Alderman Mike Cannon voted 'yes' in a straw poll whether to bring a video gambling ordinance forward to a full city council meeting. Aldermen Brad Judd and Len Prejna were absent on Tuesday.

"Gambling is all around, but we don't get any of the financial benefit from it," Cannon said. "We don't know what's out there because no one is going to come to us if we don't allow it."

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