Mokena Village Board Approves Video Gaming

Mokena anticipates an additional $50,000 in revenue from its video gaming ordinance.

The Mokena village board Monday amended their rules and regulations to authorize video gaming. The vote was 4-1.

A community that has long withstood the lure of sin tax dollars from gambling paid heed to an econonomic crunch and approved the ordiance, according to an Oct. 9 story in the Chicago Tribune. Village coffers are expected to grow about $50,000 a year.

Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

Mayor Joseph Werner, the Chicago Tribune reported, said, "All of our deciions weighed whether there wa a value or a negative." 

The discussion was initiated in August when representatives from the Mokena VFW approached the board with the idea of installing video gaming equipment.   

Eric Blair October 10, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Once again the insatiable appetite for more and more revenue wins out over common sense. If Mokena and also the businesses that pushed this are so desperate for more money that they think resorting to gambling will help solve their monetary shortage, it proves they're doing something wrong because the problem is much deeper. This isn't the answer to their revenue shortage. Gambling will solve nothing and in fact create more problems. What's next, legal prostitution? In the case of Mokena their appetite for revenue will NEVER be satisfied. Like all corporate governments the only answer is more and more $$$$.
DR- Mokena October 10, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Agree........the leadership in this village is just pathetic. Joe and his boys have to go. If they just would have promoted and more importantly followed through and pushed through companies wanting to do business in Mokena the past 6-8 years we would not be looking at gaming machines to give our village the extra revenue they are salivating over.
Riverboat Joe October 10, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Once again all talk from supposed disgruntled voters. Just talk. No one will stand up and put their name on line to run for office in this town. All will get reelected and keep their cozy seats as long as they want. Why should anything change? Actually they must be doing something right to stay so long. Or maybe Eric Blair and DR will step up and lead us to the promised land.
CN October 10, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Its good for the businesses that need a boost and its a good thing that government got out of the way. But instead of eliminating the vehicle sticker fee for those who can afford to drive, we should lower the local sales tax and generate more business.
Carolyn October 10, 2012 at 07:43 PM
The village board can allow Mokena bars and restaurants to have video gambling machines but they can't make us spend our money at establishments that have gambling machines. There are many nearby towns that will not have video gambling such as Orland Park, New Lenox, Palos Heights, Palos Park, and Tinley Park.
Gerri Knickerson October 10, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Stay Classy, Mokena.
Gerri Knickerson October 10, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Meijer ?
cn2 October 10, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Why wouldn't you want to support the VFW...
James Boskey October 11, 2012 at 12:44 AM
i can not understand why letting an individual make a free choice to play a video game is the downfall of society! Someone help me with explaining exactly how this is going to negatively affect those who do not choose to participate. I happen to believe that "Joe and his boys" have done an admirable job at building the community, and do not deserve the negativism cast upon them. No one is forcing anyone to do anything!
Gerri Knickerson October 11, 2012 at 04:27 AM
James- You are naive and late to the game. They Call It Video Crack Gambling machines in South Carolina break hearts and bank accounts. The Governor wants them out You know the tide has turned against video gambling when Doug Jennings announces it's time to throw it out of his state. The South Carolina legislator, a lawyer and popular fourth-term Democrat, had backed the video-machine operators ever since he took office in 1991; after all, they helped keep many small businesses alive in his rural, job-starved district skirting the North Carolina border. But this year Jennings listened to another part of his constituency, spouses and children of addicted gamblers who begged him to back a bill banning the machines. Local tales of woe abound: there's the service-station owner who got rid of his after watching a neighbor lose his house and his car; or the young pizza-franchise manager in a neighboring county who has a criminal record after feeding the machines for weeks with his store's cash. "People have been losing their homes, their cars. Families are breaking up," said Jennings. "I had a client tell me, 'I want you to ban these things. I'm hooked, and the only way I can get away from them is if you take them away.'" So when a group of poker-machine operators visited him not once but twice this year and threatened to punish his political turnabout by financing a primary opponent, Jennings didn't budge.
Gerri Knickerson October 11, 2012 at 04:30 AM
cont. But Jennings may have picked the winning side. The Governor, Republican David Beasley, has called video gambling a "cancer" on the state and has made getting rid of it a top issue as he runs for a second term. This spring's legislative effort to ban the machines passed overwhelmingly in the house, then was filibustered to death in the senate, but is sure to resurface next year.
Gerri Knickerson October 11, 2012 at 04:30 AM
cont. The fact that Beasley has made video poker the hottest issue in the state reflects in part a nationwide backlash against most forms of gambling: it's evident from Oklahoma, where voters in February overwhelmingly rejected a referendum to bring casino gambling to the state, to Michigan, where voters may have a chance this November to overturn a plan for three Detroit casinos. But much of the new resistance has focused on video gambling, which experts have called the crack cocaine of wagering because of its quick and deep hold on players. Four years ago, a statewide referendum in South Carolina showed lopsided support for video gambling. But in a survey conducted by the Mason-Dixon polling firm last December, 47% of respondents said video gaming should be done away with and an additional 24% said they favored regulating it more tightly. Contributing to this mood shift is a growing collection of tragedies, such as the death last August of the 10-day-old daughter of Army Sergeant Julius Baker and his wife Gail; the baby was left in the sweltering family car for several hours while Gail played video poker in Jasper County.
Gerri Knickerson October 11, 2012 at 04:33 AM
No such thing as 'easy money'. Other states have been down this road. Actions have consequences. The fast $50 Grand will come from somewhere.
Eric B. October 11, 2012 at 05:20 AM
Gerri, I'm not sure that you are aware of this, but gambling is legal. I'm sure you have gambled at some point in your life. One can drive to Joliet and gamble. Someone can also go to Stoney Point in Mokena and bet on the horses. The people crying about how the town is going to go into shambles over video gambling, are the same people who are going to cry when our local bars are going to close because they can't compete. Mokena was the one of the last towns around to adopt the new law. It's either adapt or die in today's economy and I'm glad our board did the right thing. Now about those vehicle stickers...
cn4 October 11, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Late to the game... Nikki Haley is Gov of SC
Gerri Knickerson October 11, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Eric- Nobody is 'crying' here, it's called a discussion. Slightly intelligent discussions may contain logic. Less intelligent comments will be full of drama. Gambling is legal in Illinois, as are strip clubs, pawn shops, adult bookstores, mobile homes and currency exchanges. I can see how you envision the future of Mokena. The debate isn't about the legality or morality of gambling, but the debate is about the accessibility of it. Surely even you can understand by making gambling an easy stop on the way home from work just might cause an increase in the well known problems associated with gambling? Character is something a person- or town- has inside that prevents them from doing things just because 'others are doing it". Character entails being able to discern what is the best long-term path to take. Wisdom is being able to learn from your- or other's mistakes. If other states that were gung-ho on Video Poker overwhelmingly realize the problems far outweigh the benefits, it behooves you to take notice. I'm pretty certain we can shave far more than $50K off the bloated Mokena budget that the good ole' boys envision this scheme will bring in.
Eric B. October 11, 2012 at 03:06 PM
The accessibility to gambling is not even an issue though. We already have an OTB facility in our town. There are bus tours to casinos provided by our own park district! Just because a bar is going to have video gambling doesn't mean Johnny is going to stop there after work because he has to gamble. Those types of people already stop at a bar and drink a few before heading home anyways, now they have the luxury of having a machine in front of them. I understand you don’t want our town to turn into the slums, but I think you are severely underestimating the intelligence and free-will of our neighbors. Also, to rebuke some of the South Carolina comparisons, South Carolina has only two casinos in the state. Which is probably why people turn to video gambling. In 2007, South Carolina had a HS graduation rate of 58.9% whereas Illinois had a rate of 77.7%. Even with how bad CPS is, our state still blew them away. People are educated in our state, and the LW area is a prime place to live for education. I would tend to believe that all-around education, including finances, in our area will prevent a “gambling crack” outbreak. Besides, I’m pretty sure no one my age would sit in some crummy bar playing video poker.
Tom Strict October 11, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Gerri Why didn't you go to all the board meetings and voice your opinion instead of waiting until after the fact . Maybe you could of heard all the pros and cons on the matter. People like you just like to re-act instead of act. Come on don't try to create a problem where there is none.
Gerri Knickerson October 12, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Middle class males are able to open up lines of credit and obtain credit cards far more easily than those in the lower class. They often fuel their gambling behaviors with these readily available resources and seldom understand the financial and social repercussions of their actions. (Custer 1979) Most of the middle class men compulsively gambling play games involving more skill than chance. For example, they would prefer blackjack over lottery tickets and poker over slot machines. The middle class has enough access to information and education to be able to understand how to play games of skill, rather than surrender their gambling fate to games of chance. (Custer 1979) Another explanation exists for why the middle class is most affected by compulsive gambling. The idea that a person has to work hard to earn money is challenged by gambling. Often the idea of quick money without much effort lures those in the middle class, often disillusioned by the idea that they have to work very hard their entire lives to make a satisfactory amount of money and guarantee their safe retirement. (Custer 1979) The conflict theory perspective that the middle class is being sent mixed messages by both society and the casinos pervades much of the more contemporary studies on this subject.
Gerri Knickerson October 12, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Unlike those in America's middle class, people in the lower class do not find themselves in such a conundrum. Since the access to information and education is less common in lower class society, less of the lower class gambling population plays games of skill. Instead they prefer games of chance like scratch tickets, roulette, and craps. (Custer 1979) Furthermore, lower class Americans do not have the same access to financial resources, suggesting that once they have spent what little they may have, they can spend no more. This may be a disappointing fact to many in the lower class who enjoy gambling but in reality it saves much of the lower class from a far worse fate- that of becoming a compulsive gambler via easily accessible lines of credit and other financial resources.
Gerri Knickerson October 12, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Conversely, the upper class has excellent and wide-spread access to vast financial resources. Most upper class Americans who gamble often wager exorbitant amounts of money but relative to their net worth, these seemingly large amounts of money being gambled are comparatively small. (Custer 1979) However, they are also less likely to become compulsive gamblers than those in the middle class for two reasons. The first is that there is a hard-wearing social stigma attached to compulsive gambling. Since much of the upper class's social order is retained through reputation, academic excellence, and character and many in this class fear damaging their social status by being labeled and viewed as a deviant, a compulsive gambler. (Custer 1979) The second reason those in the upper class is far less likely to become compulsive gamblers is the fact that they do not often feel the intense need to make a quick buck from gambling. They have already attained their high financial status and are less motivated by relatively menial amounts of money won through gambling.
Gerri Knickerson October 12, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Most people begin their career by gambling for fun and are able to limit their wagers to relatively small and safe amounts of money or property. They begin to take larger and larger risks in their gambling by wagering more and more of their resources on bets that are less likely to pay off. A gambler might become hooked if after one or two lucky wins he or she feels as though the outcome will always favor them. It is far more difficult to stop gambling if a person has just won a large sum of money. (Kusyszyn 1984).The reward and reinforcement schedule of gambling makes it very difficult to see the actual gaming odds that are always stacked against the gambler. Many people who suffer from compulsive gambling behavior and those who know compulsive gamblers see the behavior through a set of lenses that generally assumes that people become deviant when social bonds become weak or are broken.
Gerri Knickerson October 12, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Compulsive gambling is a disease that affects more than 5% of the adult US gambling population. (ed Derevensky and Gupta 2004) It also is the root of millions of divorces, suicides, bankruptcies, and ruined reputations. For the past 500 years it has been identified, albeit in different ways, as a negative set of behaviors and is still today a highly stigmatized and widely misunderstood phenomenon. Compulsive gamblers are psychologically and emotionally addicted to wagering often with severely damaging results. The study conducted at PLU further solidifies the idea that white middle class men suffer most from this disease and that nothing is really changing the face of compulsive gambling since it still appears to be a valid issue that is alive and well even in a relatively conservative private college. I guess you are right- it's only 5% of the people in town.
Eric B. October 12, 2012 at 02:29 PM
This is a great article but I'm not sure what you are trying to point out. I'm pretty sure everyone agrees that gambling can become a problem if there is no support network to monitor a person's gambling habits. All this article does is try to generalize upper/middle/lower class gambling styles and why each class is more susceptible to compulsive gambling. Since we are talking about video gambling, this article means nothing to Mokena. I would tend to believe that we are a mostly middle class neighborhood. According to your article, middle class people like games of skill, which rules out putting money into some machine. Likewise, let's be honest about this. There are about 5 places in Mokena that I can think of off the top of my head that would actually install video gaming machines. Are you really that worried that 5 places is going to hurt our town? And furthermore, I'm pretty sure our middle class down doesn't frequent those bars anyways.
Carolyn October 12, 2012 at 05:49 PM
People are more likely to become addicted to gambling when they live close to a gambling location that offers the crack cocaine of gambling - video gambling.
Will County Resident October 12, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Sorry Eric, I didn't know you were the one in control of everyone's lives. Please, go ahead, tell us what else we can and cannot do, master. It's none of your business if someone wants to spend money gambling, end of story. You do not get a say in what people choose to do that doesn't harm you.
Will County Resident October 12, 2012 at 07:37 PM
More people are likely to have their freedom restricted when they live near people like you, who can't stop worrying about everyone else and mind your own business.
Carolyn October 12, 2012 at 07:58 PM
More people would like to live in a town that is free from video gambling. This is why we didn't have the opportunity to vote on a referendum to decide for or against video gambing in bars and restaurants. When taxpayers have to pay for the many social problems that come with video gambling addiction, it does become our business.


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