Video gambling back on the agenda in Palatine
Palatine village council members plan to restart discussions about allowing video gambling at bars, restaurants and other establishments in town.
The council voted Monday night to resume talks that were tabled in June 2017. The vote occurred after Dave Gagner, owner of JL's Pizza & Sports Bar in downtown Palatine, asked the council to again consider reversing its long-held opposition to video gambling machines in town.
Village Manager Reid Ottesen said a video gambling proposal will be ready well in advance of a planned May 13 council discussion, giving residents and others enough time to review the document and provide feedback. He said the May meeting will focus only on that issue.
"Last time ... there was nothing before you," Ottesen said. "It was kind of a rambling discussion."
Councilman Greg Solberg agreed the council's last video gambling talk went "all over the place." Having a formal proposal as part of the May meeting will be useful.
"You really need something to focus on to have the discussion," he said.
More than 60 percent of Palatine voters rejected video gambling in an April 2015 advisory referendum, but the issue has periodically resurfaced since then.
Under state law, bars, restaurants, truck stops and fraternal organizations in communities that allow video gambling can have up to five machines. They must be in areas accessible only to customers at least 21 years old.
Five percent of net revenue goes to a municipality and 25 percent to the state, with the terminal operator and establishment splitting the remainder.
Mount Prospect last year became one of the latest suburbs to approve video gambling. In December, Pap's Ultimate Bar and Grill on South Elmhurst Road received the village's first liquor license permitting video gambling. Rolling Meadows' first video gambling machine began operating at Stadium Sports Club & Pizza in September.
Ottesen said a formal ordinance would involve several details, such as amending the local law for alcoholic beverages.
"It's not truly just taking Mount Prospect's ordinance, change the name to Palatine and say we've done it," he said. "There are going to be multiple places in our code to touch. It may have to go through a public hearing. Then, the council makes a decision."
Representatives from JL, American Legion Post 690 and Lamplighter Inn Tavern and Grille were among those who previously advocated for video gambling because of the extra revenue it would provide. JL's Gagner said "the landscape has changed a lot" since 2017.
Wheeling, Lake Zurich, Hoffman Estates, Long Grove and Buffalo Grove are among the other Northwest suburban villages allowing video gambling. The devices are not permitted in Arlington Heights, Barrington, Inverness, Deer Park or Kildeer.