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Elburn to explore legalizing video gambling

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 5:52 a.m. CDT

ELBURN – Noting that video gambling machines are allowed in nearby establishments, village officials Monday opened the door to the possibility of legalizing them in Elburn.

Blackberry Bar and Grill, which sits just south of town on Route 47, has video gaming machines. And the village of Sugar Grove recently allowed video gaming, although the village will have an advisory referendum on its ballot in April.

The village adopted an ordinance prohibiting video gaming in 2009, but trustees said the rules were not established at that time. Jeff Walter was among the trustees who voted to ban gambling in 2009, but he said he has been approached about allowing it.

Walter pointed out that Blackberry Inn appears to have done well, adding that he has not “seen any gang wars at Blackberry Inn,” but cars in the establishment’s parking lot.

Bill Grabarek, another trustee who voted against video gaming in 2009, also sounded ready to reconsider that stance.

“I don’t want to do anything to injure our business community if I can help it,” said Grabarek, adding that he understands it would be a reversal of his previous decision.

Those who want to install video gaming machines in their establishments must apply for a license through the Illinois Gaming Board. The machines allow patrons to make bets of $2, and each machine offers a variety of contests.

The County Board has allowed video gambling in the county’s unincorporated areas. Board member Drew Frasz said the board at first voted against it, but then it was reversed. Frasz said he is not in favor of video gambling.

“A dollar spent in a video gambling machine doesn’t appear from nowhere,” said Frasz, noting it might be money that might have been spent at a different establishment. “It doesn’t make money. It redistributes it.”

“I am against it,” he added. “But the county as a whole approved it.”

Village President Dave Anderson said the topic will be brought back for discussion at next week’s Committee of the Whole meeting, which will be Monday at Village Hall.

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