Romeoville OKs rules on video gambling
By Brock A. stein Correspondent December 24, 2012 9:24AM
Updated: January 29, 2013 6:16AM
Romeoville trustees have approved rules for video gambling in the village.
Changes made to the village code of ordinances governing the machines would place restrictions on placement, and make it necessary for operators to acquire a special-use permit for the operation within village limits. The new amendments further clarified the definition of the machines, Village Attorney Rich Vogel said.
“This isn’t something that’s like a video game or a pinball machine,” Vogel said.
Establishments with a liquor license would qualify to apply for a license to install up to five machines, he said.
Mayor John Noak said the video gambling bill passed by the state of Illinois was approved to pay for capital improvements, including transportation initiatives that would benefit the village.
“Anybody who knows anything about us locally here knows that we live and breathe transportation,” Noak said.
The Romeoville video gambling rules were more restrictive than those of neighboring communities, he said, and the games would be limited in their placement.
“Folks are probably never going to see this at a Chili’s or an Applebee’s,” he said.
Trustee Sue Micklevitz said that she struggled with whether to vote to approve rules allowing the gambling machines but said that ultimately she saw that several “mom-and-pop” establishments in town depended on the potential revenue they represented.
In addition, any residents who wanted to play the machines could drive to nearby municipalities, she said.
Nearby communities allowing video gambling include Joliet, Lemont, Orland Hills and Palos Hills. Many more communities around Will County have voted to ban the machine.
Only about 5 percent of the revenue would be funneled to the village, Micklevitz noted.
The mayor said the village took its time in crafting the rules governing the machines, and hoped the extra time it took would benefit the village.
“We are participating in a funding mechanism that benefits the long-term economic health of our community, and at the same time we’re doing it in a way that is responsible,” Noak said.
In other business, the board approved Hitchcock Design Group of Naperville to oversee preliminary design, final design and construction phases of the downtown sports and activities center that will be constructed at the former Spartan Square site.
Hitchcock also will design branding for the downtown site for a total of $99,800, administrator Steve Gulden said.
In November, the village held a ground-breaking ceremony for the 9.5-acre former Spartan Square retail site near Route 53. The site will feature a 65,000-square-foot community recreation center and a 23,000-square-foot grocery store with outlots for restaurants and other retail stores.
Once completed, the recreation center will feature two basketball courts, classroom space, an open area with artificial turf, and concession areas.