Schaumburg lifts 7-year ban on video gambling; Boomers Stadium can get them
Schaumburg trustees Tuesday night voted to overturn the village's seven-year outright ban on video gambling with a set of lesser regulations.
Trustees voted 4-2 in favor of two video gambling-related ordinances that first will allow the devices in eligible restaurants and hotels to have up to six machines, effective Jan. 1. New businesses must wait until Jan. 1, 2021.
In writing the ordinance creating the availability of video gambling liquor licenses, Schaumburg officials said customers have been playing at terminals in neighboring towns without bans, and that placed a "financial hardship" on village establishments.
"I think we put an awful lot of effort into this," Schaumburg Mayor Tom Dailly said. "I thought we worked well together in coming up with an ordinance. And while we all may not agree on every part of it, we did work together and I think it's commendable."
Schaumburg joins Buffalo Grove, Mount Prospect and Rolling Meadows as suburbs that recently have overturned video gambling bans.
Under the law, gambling cafes are not allowed in Schaumburg until Jan. 1, 2021, and only if fronted by a village resident. Any cafes run by nonresidents must wait until 2022, provided a license is available.
Trustees Marge Connelley and Mark Madej were the village board's two objectors. They cited concerns about allowing gambling cafes.
"I feel those are not appropriate in our community," Connelly said.
Schaumburg will allocate up to half its $500 annual fee per machine to the treatment of addiction or other social services residents may need due to gambling. Dailly said he doesn't know of another town making such a commitment with its video gambling revenue.
Resident Matt Steward was the only speaker to address video gambling at public comment time Tuesday night. He reiterated his objection to the devices, which he relayed during a village board committee discussion on the issue last week.
"It's really pleasing to us that when driving through the streets of our town, we are proud we don't have to see storefront video gambling cafes anywhere," Steward said. "Or the lights in restaurants and hotel windows going off as we go by. Not just for us residents, but for those who visit here as well. It's about what we stand for and what we won't stand for."
The video gambling devices will be permitted at the following village-owned properties: Boomers Stadium, Pilot Pete's restaurant at Schaumburg Regional Airport and the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel.