Campton Hills to ask voters again about video gambling
Campton Hills trustees once again will ask voters if they want video gambling in the village.
Nearly 70 percent of voters rejected a similar proposal in an advisory referendum question in 2012, but some business owners want the village to reconsider it. That will happen in a nonbinding ballot question on April 2.
Trustees on Jan. 11 signed off on the advisory referendum, and about 30 people went to a village board meeting to voice their opinions both for and against.
Kim Weiss, a manager at Old Towne Pub and Eatery, 40W290 La Fox Road, hopes trustees will adopt video gambling as an option for businesses. Weiss noted bars just 2 miles away from Old Towne have that option, and in 2012 when residents last chimed in there weren't many surrounding towns with gambling.
"We're not trying to harm the village or take away its small-town feel. We just want to be competitive," Weiss said Friday. "To stay open as a restaurant, you have to give the people what they want. This is what they want. It's just another form of entertainment. It's not a casino."
A staff memo prepared by Village Administrator Ron Searle notes that Campton Hills police have checked with other police departments whose towns allow video gambling, and in three years authorities in St. Charles, South Elgin, Huntley and Elburn have not experienced a rise in police calls due to the machines.
St. Charles was expected to receive some $144,000 in revenue from video gambling in 2018.
In 2007, when Campton Hills was incorporated, village leaders opted not to create a village property tax levy, putting an emphasis on funding sources other than property taxes.
Trustee Mike Tyrrell said the village has not done any revenue projections and he has "not made a commitment one way or the other" on whether to support video gambling.
Tyrrell, who is running unopposed this spring for village president, said he is still gathering information and is curious to see what residents think.
"If the community has changed dramatically in their opinion, that certainly weighs" into the decision, Tyrrell said.
At the village board meeting this week, trustees delayed a two-part measure that would change the village code to allow video gambling and state that the board's intent would be to deposit 80 percent of revenues in the village's police pension fund and spend the remaining 20 percent on training and equipment for police.
Village President Harry Blecker, who is not seeking re-election, said he favors video gambling in Campton Hills.
"I've been in favor of it all along," he said. "I think there's enough people in the village who thing it's a good financial move."