Video gambling in Des Plaines? Where the candidates stand

  • Will allowing video gambling in local restaurants and bars hurt business at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines? City council candidates have differing takes on the potential impact.

      Will allowing video gambling in local restaurants and bars hurt business at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines? City council candidates have differing takes on the potential impact. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer, 2011

 
 
Updated 2/13/2019 7:15 PM
This article has been updated to clarify a misattributed statement.

Only one candidate for Des Plaines City Council says he'll oppose video gambling in the city, while others either support lifting the city's ban or remain undecided.

The city is contemplating whether to allow video gambling machines in bars, restaurants and other establishments. Business owners packed a recent city council meeting to make their case, arguing that it would help them remain competitive with neighboring communities that permit video gambling.

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However, Des Plaines also is home to Rivers Casino, which makes the issue more complicated for city officials to navigate. Some aldermen are concerned that opening the city to video gambling could hurt its position to negotiate for an increased share of casino revenues, should state lawmakers approve a new casino in Chicago or elsewhere.

Candidates for aldermen shared their views during a recent interview with the Daily Herald. Here's where they stand.

2nd Ward

Earl Wilson, a retiree and Des Plaines library board trustee, said he remains undecided because he wants more information but indicated he would support video gambling if it helps local businesses.

"If I had to say 'yes' or 'no,' I would say 'yes' because I want our businesses to be competitive. I want Des Plaines to prosper," Wilson said. "I don't want Des Plaines to be at a disadvantage, but I'd still like to hear more about it."

Wilson is opposed in the 2nd Ward race by Colt Moylan, the son of state Rep. Marty Moylan. Colt Moylan did not attend the endorsement interview or respond to an email seeking comment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

4th Ward

Candidates Artur Zadrozny, an attorney, and Mark Setzer, a retired firefighter, differ on allowing video gambling.

Zadrozny said he supports it because the additional revenue could help businesses.

But Setzer opposes it because the city already has a casino.

"I don't think we should have video gambling in Des Plaines if we have a casino in Des Plaines, because it's like a double-edged sword," Setzer said. "You're either going to have one or the other. You can't have both."

6th Ward

Incumbent Malcolm Chester and former 6th Ward Alderman Mark Walsten say the city should permit video gambling.

Chester said local businesses should be allowed to have the maximum of five video gambling machines because Rivers Casino has 1,200 gambling positions.

"I've got to support those local people," Chester said.

Walsten doesn't think allowing video gambling will draw customers away from the casino.

"I don't believe it's going to hurt Rivers Casino one bit," Walsten said. "Most of the people that do video gaming in, say, a tavern, bar or pizza joint, these people aren't really casino people anyway."

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