Mount Prospect expected to allow video gambling, but for whom?

 
Updated 7/12/2018 6:20 AM
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  • Mount Prospect leaders are poised to allow video gambling in the village for the first time, but they're still debating who should be eligible to receive licenses and under what circumstances.

      Mount Prospect leaders are poised to allow video gambling in the village for the first time, but they're still debating who should be eligible to receive licenses and under what circumstances. Daniel White | Staff Photographer, June 2018

Mount Prospect leaders are ready to present the public with an ordinance allowing video gambling licenses in the village, but questions remain over which businesses might be eligible to receive one.

The village staff has been tweaking the ordinance since it was first presented to the village board last month. Trustees took another look at Tuesday's committee-of-the-whole meeting.

Gone from the initial draft are restrictions that would limit businesses with video gambling licenses from getting more than 30 percent of their net income from the machines. The staff determined that existing liquor license restrictions, created to control so-called video gambling cafes, achieve the same goal.

But now there's a requirement of a one-year trial period before a new establishment is eligible for a gambling license.

The ordinance also proposes an annual $1,000-per-terminal fee for video gambling machines.

Much of the discussion Tuesday revolved around the trial period, which would require a business to hold a village liquor license for a year before it's eligible for video gambling.

"My feeling is that it's unfair to anybody who wants to come into the village," Trustee Richard Rogers said. "If we're going to have video gambling, then it should be open to anybody who comes into the village who qualifies as a restaurant, has a liquor license and goes through the proper channels.

"It's really unfair. It would be almost impossible for a new restaurant to come into the village, if they wanted video gambling."

Trustee William Grossi questioned how the measure would apply to a chain establishment licensed for video gambling in another community, or if an existing business gets new ownership.

Trustee Paul Hoefert reiterated his suggestion that the matter should go to a referendum.

"I think this is a bit of a Pandora's box," he said.

"Once we open the box, it's here to stay."

He noted that years ago, there was an opportunity for Mount Prospect to share in gambling revenue from a proposed casino in Rosemont, but village leaders turned it down.

"What came of that as a board is that we put a resolution in place that if gaming ever came to Mount Prospect, we would put that question to the people," he said.

The first reading of the ordinance will take place Tuesday at the next village board meeting.

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