Island Lake takes second look at video gaming

ISLAND LAKE – Just four months after the Island Lake Village Board narrowly rejected video gambling, it’s taking a second look.

With all the surrounding communities allowing video gaming machines, business owners such as Jerry DeLaurentis, the owner of Sideouts Bar & Eatery and the adjoining bowling alley 3-D Bowl, have argued they’re losing business.

“Video gaming is here in Illinois," DeLaurentis said. "It’s here to stay. It’s not going anywhere. We need it in our town because we need to survive.”

When the board last voted on the idea, Village President Charles Amrich cast the deciding vote, killing the ordinance. During Thursday’s discussion, most of the trustees said they still felt the same way they did back in August.

The rejected ordinance would have allowed bars, restaurants, truck stops and fraternal and veterans clubs to install up to five video gaming machines. Under state regulations, the state takes a 25 percent cut of the profits, and local governments get 5 percent.

“When it first came up for discussion, one of the big points was, ‘Let’s wait. Let’s not be the person that breaks the ice on this. Let’s see how it goes, make sure it’s going smoothly.' We've already done that,” Trustee Thea Morris said.

Trustee Keith Johns, one of the three trustees who voted against the proposal, said he was still looking into it Thursday evening.

“I do see both sides of it,” he said. “There is a positive obviously for the business owners, a small positive for the village. I don’t really see that 5 percent really makes a big deal to the village.

“It’s more about what’s important to our business owners and keeping our business owners making money, and if a lot of other towns are doing it around us, if these guys are losing business, then maybe we need to take a harder look at it.”

Trustee Mark Beeson raised concerns about how the machines would be regulated, where they would be placed and whether kids would be able to see them.

Whether the village can add regulations to those already laid out in the state law is one of the questions Village Attorney David McArdle will look into.

The board decided to give themselves until the next meeting to come up with any other questions, so they can have their answers for a vote at their second January meeting.

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