Palatine council to take up video gambling in spring
Palatine council members will discuss allowing video gambling at village bars and restaurants in the spring, less than two years after residents voted "no" on a gambling advisory referendum.
The council was split 3-3 on Dec. 5, when officials debated whether they should reopen video gambling discussions. Councilman Doug Myslinksi, who was absent from that meeting, broke the tie Dec. 12 in favor of reopening the talks.
Myslinski, the council's most junior member, was elected to the board in April 2015, on the same ballot as the gambling referendum.
He said enough time has passed since then for the council to at least revisit the issue, adding that his decision does not mean he supports lifting the village's video gambling ban.
"I believe we are a hearing body and we're there to hear what the people or the businesses have to say," Myslinski said. "We certainly are faced with a difficult decision."
Bar owners and employees made their desire for video gambling known at the Dec. 5 council meeting. Representatives from JL's Pizza & Sports Bar, Lamplighter Inn Tavern & Grille, Gators Wing Shack Grill & Pizzeria, The Donkey Inn, TJ O'Brien's Bar & Grill, and American Legion Post 690 all advocated for lifting the ban.
Many said it would financially benefit both their businesses and the village.
Barbra Letos, a JL's Pizza & Sports Bar employee who coordinated the Dec. 5 effort, said Wednesday she is pleased that the council will take up the issue again.
"I know not everybody agrees on the subject," Letos said. "To have them be willing for me to present what I have, and hear us out, says a lot about the council and their willingness to be part of the community."
Under state law, municipalities receive 5 percent of each video gambling machine's net income. The state receives 25 percent, with the rest evenly split between establishment owners and terminal operators.
Video gambling machines have never been allowed in Palatine. In 2015, when voters were asked if they wanted the ban lifted, 60.8 percent said "no." Of the 40,855 registered voters in Palatine, just 4,532 weighed in on the referendum.
Myslinski said he believes the council will discuss video gambling sometime in the spring.