Round Lake Park considering request for video gambling at Thorntons
Patrons of the potential next video gambling location in Round Lake Park will also be able to fill their gas tanks or buy some snacks for the road.
Village officials informally have approved the installation of five video gambling machines at the Thorntons gas station/mini mart at Hainesville Road and Washington Street.
Thortons sells packaged liquor, but its license needs to be changed to allow for consumption on premises, which would come with several conditions.
"It hasn't been finalized yet," Mayor Linda Lucassen said. "We're very strict, and they're complying with all our wishes."
Illinois law allows up to five video gambling machines in licensed retail establishments where liquor is served for consumption on premises, truck stops, and veteran and fraternal establishments.
Round Lake Park approved video gambling in 2013. Four establishments, including Big Jack's, a hot dog and burger joint across Hainesville Road from Thorntons, each have five machines.
Lucassen said the village was hesitant about the request when it surfaced about a year ago but is comfortable the amended liquor license will include safeguards, including cameras and other measures.
For example, video gambling patrons would be limited to two cans of beer in a 24-hour period, she said. Gambling machines would automatically shut off at 1 a.m.
"Truck stops, they're allowed to have them (video gambling machines), but this is totally different," Lucassen said. "They've (Thorntons) been extremely cooperative. We've set some very high standards."
Police Chief George Filenko said he and village officials had concerns about individuals walking around with cups filled with beer.
"It's very restricted and by statute has to be segregated and monitored," he said. "Statistically, an overwhelming amount of players consume one beer and primarily focus on playing the machines."
He added that the area has been designed so it can be adequately monitored and he doesn't expect alcohol to be an issue.
Video gambling is available at Thorntons stores in Lincoln, Havana, Channahon, Decatur and Blue Island, according to Illinois Gaming Board records. Representatives for the Louisville, Kentucky-based company declined to discuss the Round Lake Park proposal or other potential plans.
"Our gaming plans are currently in development, so we do not have any information to provide at this time," said Kelly Leonardo, marketing manager.
According to the gaming board, a total of nearly $1.12 million was wagered in May on the 20 machines in Round Lake Park. Just over $1 million was won and the village's share of the difference was $4,396.
Lucassen said the impetus for allowing video gambling was to help businesses and organizations, like American Legion Post 1170, rather than revenue for the village.