Algonquin prohibits businesses with gambling as primary purpose
Gaming cafes are no longer allowed in Algonquin after officials tightened the village's regulations on video gambling.
A new set of criteria, unanimously approved this week by the village board, prohibits establishments from operating in the village if their primary purpose -- or source of revenue -- is gambling.
The measure will not affect the 11 restaurants or bars in Algonquin that already have gaming machines, Assistant Village Manager Mike Kumbera said. It also doesn't stop other businesses from obtaining a video gambling license in the future, he said, as long as the gaming terminals are not their central focus.
"We don't want Algonquin to be known as a destination for gambling," Village President John Schmitt said.
Last month, the committee of the whole shot down a proposal for Mia's Cafe, a video gaming establishment that wanted to open on Lake-Cook Road. Because the village does allow gaming machines in some establishments, Schmitt said, "it was always difficult to explain that that's not what we're looking for."
The new guidelines clarify the village board's stance on the issue, Kumbera said. A restaurant or pub, for example, must have at least 10 customer seats per one machine. At least four square feet of space must be devoted to other activities per square foot intended for gaming.
Other factors officials may consider include the layout and design of the business; the preparation and variety of food and beverages; and the establishment's source of revenue.
Video gambling was approved by trustees in 2013 to help businesses stay competitive and remain afloat financially, Schmitt said. The intention was never to allow gambling to be a primary function of an establishment.
Algonquin collected about $8,365 last month in video gambling revenues, which are distributed by the state. In 2015, the village received $69,832.
"It's certainly a viable entertainment, and we have businesses in town that can use that entertainment as a source of revenue and a source of drawing business," Schmitt said. "But they're not just gaming establishments."