Fox River Grove to allow video gambling

FOX RIVER GROVE – With video gambling expected to start soon in Illinois, Fox River Grove has joined municipalities that will allow video gaming.

The Village Board approved the measure, 6-0, at its meeting Thursday.

Representatives from four businesses that serve alcohol, including a bowling alley and taverns that serve food, spoke in favor of allowing video gaming, Village President Bob Nunamaker said.

Depending how many machines are put into place, the village could reap $13,000 to $30,000 a year, Nunamaker said. The money would go into the general fund of the village of less than 4,900 people.

People would be able to gamble only $2 at a time and win up to $500, Nunamaker said. He compared video gambling to buying lottery tickets.

“The feeling was, it’s a long way from a casino,” Nunamaker said.

Nunamaker said there was a fear that local establishments could lose customers to other municipalities if the village did not allow video gaming.

Other municipalities have been mixed on whether to allow it in restaurants and bars.

Marengo, Huntley, Johnsburg, Lake in the Hills and McHenry are among communities that have allowed video gambling.

Crystal Lake banned it.

The McHenry County Board voted in 2009 to ban video gaming in unincorporated areas of the county.

The terminals have been long-awaited as the state worked to set up the centralized video gaming system and regulations for the terminals. The terminals could be ready to go by next month.

Local governments have had the choice to ban or allow video gaming since 2009, when the Legislature legalized it to help pay for a $31 billion infrastructure plan.

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