Homer Glen bans video gambling
BY MICHELLE MULLINS For The Herald-News May 11, 2012 11:40PM
Oak Lawn trustees are concerned about the number of businesses seeking liquor licenses in order to apply to the state to offer video gambling. | File photo
Updated: June 14, 2012 8:22AM
HOMER GLEN — Trustees voted Tuesday to prohibit video gambling within the village, but they may revisit the issue in the future.
Under state law, if the village were to allow video gambling, it would receive 5 percent of the income each machine generated, which Mayor Jim Daley called a “poor offer.”
A quarter of the revenue would go to the state, and the gaming distributor and the bar or restaurant each would get 35 percent.
Village officials said that getting only 5 percent of the revenue while dealing with 100 percent of the problems that could accompany legalized gambling involves a risk they were not willing to take.
Illinois legalized video gambling in 2009 as a way to generate new revenue, but the law allows municipalities to opt out.
Six counties and more than 150 communities statewide — including towns near Homer Glen such as Orland Park, Palos Heights, Tinley Park and Palos Park — have voted to opt out of video gambling, citing concerns such as the adverse impact on residents, the potential for corruption, higher costs of law enforcement, regulatory difficulties and high social costs, Daley said.
Homer Glen has 16 bars and restaurants that could have installed video gambling machines under the state’s guidelines. They include corporate chain restaurants, banquet halls, golf courses, independently owned restaurants and sports bars.
Under the Illinois Video Gaming Act, each establishment could install a maximum of five machines, so the village could have had up to 80 machines.
The state estimates that municipalities on average would receive $2,250 from each machine installed per year, which could have given the village up to $180,000 a year in new revenue. But village officials said they don’t believe the estimate is realistic because not all establishments would install the machines and there are too many uncertainties about the program.
Daley said since the program is so new, the village can learn from communities that choose to try video gambling.