Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Algonquin Video Gambling: Not Out Of The Woods Yet
The vote wasn't to allow video gambling in Algonquin. Rather, it was a sense-of-the-board vote not to not allow it, assuming Algonquin's current ordinance doesn't already outlaw video gambling. Trustee Bob Smith questioned Village Attorney Kelly Cahill how to read the Village's current prohibition of "illegal gambling devices" since the State's machines would be licensed ones. Cahill said the current ordinance was probably ambiguous now.
No one appeared to speak against the new machines which could be installed in any of Algonquin's 44 bars and restaurants that serve liquor. The main argument from five owners was that times are tough and they need the money, 50 percent of profits after the State's 30 percent rakeoff. "It's been devastating for the last four years," said Rick Geschrey, owner of Main Street Billiards. "If this doesn't go through we might be out of business."
Riverview Restaurant's Jeff Battaglia, complaining he's already had to lay off workers, reminded trustees Algonquin's a little bit pregnant with gambling, anyway. "The Illinois Lottery is in every gas station in town," he said.
Creekside Tap owner Vallerie Hellyer said if Algonquin doesn't all video gambling, businesses will be at a competitive disadvantage since a lot of nearby municipalities have already OK'ed it. "I don't want to see (customers) take that money to Lake in the Hills," she said.
Only trustees Jim Steigert and Brian Dianis opposed video gambling. Steigert in particular recounted tawdry and vaguely disquieting video gambling he'd observed in other states where it's already legal.
Cahill said restrictions could be added to cover problems the State law doesn't address. "It's your ordinance," she said.