Vote on video gambling in Palatine expected this summer

  • Spectators at Monday night's Palatine village council meeting watch a presentation on possible rules for video gambling.

      Spectators at Monday night's Palatine village council meeting watch a presentation on possible rules for video gambling. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted5/14/2019 5:33 AM

Palatine village council members are expected to vote in the summer on a proposed ordinance to allow video gambling at bars, restaurants and other establishments in town.

At a meeting Monday night, councilmen reviewed potential fees, licensing and other proposed regulations for the establishments before agreeing administrators should refine some areas for a final document. Village Manager Reid Ottesen said a date for a final video gambling vote will be announced at a July council session.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

More than 60 percent of Palatine voters rejected video gambling in an April 2015 advisory referendum, but the issue periodically has resurfaced since then. Councilman Kollin Kozlowski said it's time to put the issue to rest.

"It needs to come in front of us as a (formal) vote for everyone sitting out there," said Kozlowski, alluding to the bar and restaurant owners in the village hall gallery in favor of video gambling and some residents who spoke against it at Monday's session.

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.

In January, the council voted to resume the video gambling 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 consider reversing its long-held opposition to video gambling.

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During public comment on Monday, Gagner reiterated his hope that Palatine council members approve video gambling.

"Arlington (Park) racetrack is a gambling mecca of this area," Gagner said. "Everybody knows that. I don't think Arlington Park did anything bad to anybody growing up."

Some residents expressed concern about a decline in property values and a loss of a family atmosphere in the village if video gambling were permitted. There also were suggestions that the village council hold another advisory referendum.

"Sure, have a referendum, and I'll vote against it again," resident John Dawson told the council.

Palatine's proposed ordinance would require a $1,500 annual fee per gambling terminal. Establishments also would pay $5,676 for a special video gambling liquor license.

Video gambling would be permitted only in establishments with liquor licenses serving a "full and complete menu."

Wheeling, Lake Zurich, Mount Prospect, 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.

Ordinances prohibit gambling in Palatine, except for charitable events requiring special council approval.

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