Local Government

Last holdout Lakewood to vote on repealing video gambling ban

LAKEWOOD – The Village Board is set to vote Tuesday evening on an ordinance that would rescind McHenry County’s last remaining ban on video gambling.

An ordinance that would allow for video gambling within village limits is on the agenda for the meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. at Turnberry Country Club. The new management of the club at 9600 Turnberry Trail approached village leaders in October about undoing the ban.

Should Lakewood reverse the ban, the country club and three of the four other businesses holding village liquor licenses would be eligible for gaming permits.

Lakewood was one of six local governments that banned video gambling under an opt-out in the 2009 state law that legalized it to finance a $31 billion capital plan.

Five of the six have since changed their minds, the most recent being Crystal Lake, after bar and restaurant owners complained that the bans put them at a competitive disadvantage.

Establishments that serve alcohol, truck stops, and fraternal and veterans organizations can have up to five of the machines under state law.

The state gets 30 percent of the proceeds, 5 percent of which goes back to local governments. The remaining 70 percent is split between the business and the company that operates the machines.

The machines under state law must be located in an area accessible only to people at least 21 years old, and in the case of restaurants, must be within view of an adult employee. Machines cannot be visible from outside the building.

Woodstock reversed its ban in 2012. Cary, Algonquin and the McHenry County Board reversed their bans in 2013, and Crystal Lake reversed its ban last year.

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