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Sugar Grove voters back video gambling in referendum

Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 12:10 a.m. CST

SUGAR GROVE – Village residents have endorsed the Sugar Grove Village Board's decision to allow video gambling at bars in Sugar Grove.

Tuesday, voters in Sugar Grove passed an advisory referendum stating they believe the village government should allow video gambling.

According to unofficial vote totals, 632 voters cast ballots in favor of the measure, while 586 village residents voted no.

The question arose this year when the Sugar Grove Village Board passed an ordinance allowing bars, truck stops, social clubs and veterans organizations within the village to apply for licenses from the state to place up to five video gambling machines within their establishments.

The ordinance, which was passed in January, reversed a vote the board had taken just four months earlier, in which such video gambling had been banned in the village.

The 4-2 vote in favor of legalizing video gambling was contentious, with standing room-only crowds debating both sides of the issue at meetings earlier this year.

When passing the ordinance legalizing video gambling, the board also endorsed placing a nonbinding advisory referendum on the April ballot to give village residents a chance to register their opinion.

The gambling ordinance had been backed by Village President Sean Michels and opposed by his opponent in the race for village president, Trustee Kevin Geary, making video gambling an issue in that campaign, as well.

Sugar Grove American Legion Post 1271 became the first Sugar Grove establishment to obtain a video gambling license in late March. It installed three machines.

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