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Video Gambling: Boon for Business or Scheme by State?

New Lenox trustees expressed concern with video gambling machines, but a couple of establishments said it would help their business.

New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann said at the last Village Board meeting that if the only issue surrounding video gambling was the increased revenue for businesses, it would be a "no-brainer" to allow it. 

But it's not that simple. The Village Board is considering an ordinance that would prohibit video gambling machines in all establishments. You , but this gist is this: 

  • In 2009, the Illinois General Assembly legalized video gambling machines with plans to fund construction projects with the revenue.
  • Businesses would get about 30 to 35 percent of the cut of the revenue and the village would get a 5 percent cut. 
  • Only establishments with a "pour" liquor license are eligible (they must serve alcohol for on-site consumption).
  • Up to five gambling machines per establishment. Ages 21 and up. 
  • Individual communities may decide to opt out and ban video gambling. Frankfort and Homer Glen are examples of surrounding communities that have banned it. 

 

The board will vote on the matter at its next meeting, which is 7 p.m. June 11 at . 

At a previous Village Board meeting, Bill Walter from the and owner Jim Potter said their establishments would benefit from continuing video gambling.

"What difference is there from ... when they go buy lottery tickets?" Potter said, responding to some concerns over gambling. "We certainly could use the income. We look for everything we can get."

Trustee Ray Tuminello said that while he doesn't oppose gambling, he doesn't think local restaurants are the place to do it because it would be around children.

"When I look at this I don't get a good feeling," he said. "I'm not looking forward to a mom, a dad, a husband, a wife asking how we could approve something where their (spouse) just spent their last paycheck. I'm not so sure it's the revenue I really want."

That drew applause from New Lenox resident Wayne Matulis, who said his father was addicted to gambling and asked the board to oppose video gambling.

"I know how it affected our family," he said. "We've got a great community here, we don't need that type of money. It's blood money as far as I'm concerned." 

Ultimately, Baldermann said, the concern he has doesn't relate to supporting local businesses but is a lack of trust in the state. 

"The only reason we would even contemplate this is because we care about our businesses," Baldermann said. "My biggest objection to this is philosophically with the state, instead of trying to balance a budget, they come up with other schemes. The state of Illinois cannot be trusted to deliver on what they promise."

Gerald Neismith May 30, 2012 at 01:58 PM
There are quite a few unanswered questions here: Biz takes 30%, local gets 5% -- where does balance go? States cut? Funny how nobody mentions guaranteed payout returned as prizes. Previous article said biz take is 35%, now down to 30%? That WAS fast. Usually percentages are used to represent the whole- what is the COMPLETE breakdown? The sum of the percentages mentioned in a proper article should total 100%
Mary May 30, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Mayor, do you think Frankfort and Homer care less about their businesses than NL? Yet they voted it down.Take a note from business that say they wouldn't do it even if they could and please do not cheapen New Lenox's reputation with video gambling...
JPS May 30, 2012 at 05:47 PM
If an establishment cannot generate sufficient revenue based on the quality of the food, drink and service that it offers, then it should be allowed to fail. The free market system will fill the void with someone who can do it better. These businesses should not be propped up with gambling. We don't need this in our community.
Chuck Soukup June 11, 2012 at 12:02 PM
I don't gamble but i don't see the harm in it if people are dumb enough to piss their money away at a stupid video poker machine.
Ed June 12, 2012 at 01:53 AM
If people want to gamble, they can drive 10-15 mins in Joliet, or 20-25 mins in Gary. We don't need this crap in NL.

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