Joliet approves video gambling shops
By Bob okon firstname.lastname@example.org February 4, 2013 11:12PM
Franklin Park officials have voted to allow video gambling machines, such as these shown at an Aurora bowling alley. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 7, 2013 6:29AM
Video gambling stores are coming to Joliet.
The city council on Monday approved liquor licenses for a company that will open three video gambling shops that also serve sandwiches and alcohol at storefront sites.
Blackhawk Restaurant Group, an Oregon-based company that has a regional office in Oakbrook Terrace, plans to eventually have six locations in Joliet and a Crest Hill store, said attorney Michael Hansen, who represents the firm.
The local shops will be called Betty’s Bistro or Penny’s Place, and each will have the legal limit of five video gambling machines, Hansen said. He said Blackhawk Restaurant Group is opening similar shops across Illinois.
“They think this is a (video gambling) market that can really take off,” Hansen said, adding that the stores are designed for gamblers who may not want to go to casinos or neighborhood bars. “They’re very nice, upscale sandwich shops.”
The locations approved Monday are 3065 Caton Farm Road in the shopping center that includes a Dominick’s store; 2310 Illinois 59 in the shopping center anchored by Tony’s Finer Foods; and 2410 W. Jefferson St., in the Wal-Mart/Menards shopping center.
Jim Murphy, Joliet’s deputy liquor commissioner, said the company plans to open the three stores this summer but needs the liquor licenses to apply to the state for video gambling licenses.
Mayor Thomas Giarrante, who’s also the city’s liquor commissioner, said he will only approve liquor licenses for the Blackhawk Restaurant Group in strip malls where there is not already a licensed bar.
The Caton Farm Road location will be in a mall that includes Hot Pan, a restaurant with liquor that has two video gambling machines. The Hot Pan is in a separate strip of stores than where the Betty’s Bistro will be located.