Mt. Prospect allows video gambling
Mount Prospect added its name Tuesday to the list of communities offering video gambling.
The 4-2 vote by trustees reflected strong feelings on both sides of the debate. The new ordinance allows video gambling in specific settings, including restaurants, private clubs, brewpubs and bowling alleys.
However, it prohibits video gambling cafes.
Trustees Paul Hoefert and Richard Rogers voted against the ordinance.
Hoefert, who has been vocal in his support of putting the matter to referendum, said gambling will damage the village's brand as a family-friendly community,
"The families are the lifeblood of this community," he said. "I think gambling, as a whole, runs counter to core family values. And I think it cheapens the image of Mount Prospect."
Rogers said most of the money that comes from video gambling leaves the community, with the state taking about one-third and the people who control the machines picking up about another third.
"Morally, do we really want to be known for video gambling?" he added.
Trustee Michael Zadel spoke on behalf of the majority, saying the introduction of video gambling will not diminish the village's image.
He emphasized how the revenue enhancement for businesses will help the community.
"Right now, these businesses are some of the most generous donators to and sponsors of community events," he said.
He added that the ordinance contains safeguards to ensure that respectable and successful businesses obtain licenses.
The ordinance limits the activity to segregated areas for customers ages 21 and older. Light and sound from the machines must be kept within the segregated area, which will be visible to an employee at all times.
The floor plan will be subject to approval by the village manager.
To discourage fly-by-night operators, the ordinance requires an establishment to be in good standing with the village for no less than one year before applying for a license, although there is a waiver provision.
In addition, video gambling funds collected by the village will be put into reserves, where they will be used to pay down village debt.
The latter was an important provision for Trustee William Grossi, who pointed out that the ordinance is to help local businesses, not generate revenue for the village.
"I feel very strongly about this," he said, noting he would be tempted to change his vote if the village decided to spend the money another way.