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Cary plans special video gambling meeting

CARY – With a push from local bars and restaurants, the Village Board later this month is scheduled to discuss and possibly vote on whether to allow video gambling terminals in town.

The special meeting is scheduled for Oct. 29 at Village Hall. Village Administrator Chris Clark said there might be a vote on the issue at the meeting.

Clark said the village has received emails from people on both sides of the issue. The village has yet to determine an estimate of how much it could receive from video gambling terminal income, but Clark expects it to be minimal.

He said the decision would be based on what is in the best interest of businesses and residents in town.

In 2010, Village Board members decided to ban video gambling. The Village Board had concerns about the social ills related to gambling, such as addiction and increased crime.

If the village were to allow terminals in town, it would receive a share of the gambling losses, along with the state, local establishments with the terminals and terminal operators.

Video gambling in bars and restaurants with liquor licenses, truck stops and veterans and fraternal organizations was legalized by the state in 2009 as one of the revenue sources of the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program.

The village initially planned to have a public forum in November for an in-depth discussion on the issue, but some village trustees asked that it be moved up.

Village Trustee David Chapman said residents are either not against video gambling or don’t’ care one way or another.

“I don’t want to make our businesspeople have to wait that much longer,” Chapman said at a recent meeting. “If it was something that was going to be big, we would of heard about it.”

According to the state’s latest update, there are more than 1,800 establishments with pending applications with the state.

A handful of bar and restaurant owners have petitioned the village to allow video gambling in town. They believe they’re losing business to nearby towns that have video gambling, such as Fox River Grove and Port Barrington.

“I personally feel if we could find a way to do it sooner or quicker, I would like that,” Trustee Bruce Kaplan said. “By the same token, I like the thought of inviting anybody who wanted to weigh in on the subject to be given an opportunity at this public forum.”

Village President Mark Kownick wants to have a special meeting where people with different perspectives can speak.

“If we publicize this and we put the word out that we’re talking about it, and we’re holding a special meeting and we move forward with it, then we’ve done our due diligence and given everybody an opportunity to be heard,” Kownick said.

To attend

What: Cary Village Board special meeting

When: 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 29

Where: Village Hall, 655 Village Hall Drive

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