Island Lake trustees again delay vote on video gambling moratorium

  • Island Lake officials have been considering a moratorium on new video gambling licenses.

    Island Lake officials have been considering a moratorium on new video gambling licenses. Daily Herald File Photo, 2018

 
 
Updated 2/14/2020 10:53 PM

Island Lake officials have again delayed voting on a proposed moratorium on new video gambling machines in the village.

The village board punted the issue at its meeting Thursday night, just as it did twice last month.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

And once again, a request to allow the potentially lucrative machines at the Island Foods grocery store, 223 E. State Road, is holding up the plan.

The issue was pushed off to the board's Feb. 27 meeting so Island Foods representatives can make a presentation about why they want gambling machines, officials said.

Video gambling has been allowed in Island Lake since 2014, five years after it was legalized in Illinois.

In 2015, the board tried to stop local gambling expansion by halting the issuing of liquor licenses to businesses that sell food but don't have full kitchens.

That maneuver didn't stop video gambling from growing in town. In 2015 and 2016, the number of businesses with machines grew from two to five.

In 2017, the board took a stricter approach by voting to stop issuing video gambling permits until June 2018. That ban wasn't renewed when it expired.

As of today, six Island Lake businesses -- Sofia's Place, Sideouts Sports Tavern, Julie's Island Lake, Chi-Town Dogs, Lakes Lucky Slots and a Thorntons gas station -- have gambling machines.

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Chi-Town Dogs is owned by Trustee Chris Carlsen.

Video gambling also has been proposed for a Circle K gas station and convenience store planned for the northwest corner of Route 176 and River Road.

Island Lake's video gambling machines attracted about $21.3 million in wagering in 2019, Illinois Gaming Board data indicates, up about 18% from $18 million the year before.

Island Lake collected $82,987 in revenue from the machines in 2019, up nearly 10% from $75,552 the year before.

A new moratorium first was put up for a vote at the village board's Jan. 9 meeting. Trustee Richard McLaughlin said he's heard from residents who believe there are enough gambling machines in town.

But Trustee Chuck Cermak said a decision shouldn't be made yet because Island Foods had an outstanding request for a license.

The issue was tabled until the Jan. 23 meeting. That night, Cermak supported the store's petition and Carlsen said gambling machines should be relegated to the alcohol department. But Trustee Will Ziegler said allowing gambling in a grocery store didn't feel right to him.

Trustees voted to table the matter again, which is why they discussed it Thursday.

The next meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27 at village hall, 3720 Greenleaf Ave.

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