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Maple Park OKs video gambling for local bars

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

MAPLE PARK – Taverns and other establishments in the village have been cleared to ask the state for permission to install video gambling machines within their businesses.

The Maple Park Village Board unanimously voted last week to approve an ordinance permitting certain businesses within the village to operate the machines.

“Our Maple Park businesses would have been at a competitive disadvantage if we had not approved this,” Maple Park Village Trustee Terry Borg said.

The vote in favor of the ordinance reversed the village’s position on the matter. When the state of Illinois first granted establishments the chance to install such licensed video gambling machines several years ago, Maple Park was among several local communities that took advantage of a provision in the state law allowing local governments to ban the machines within counties, cities and villages.

But in recent days, many communities – including Elburn and Sugar Grove – reversed those bans, often at the urging of local bar owners.

In Maple Park, the village was asked by representatives of Maple Park American Legion Post 312 to lift its ban.

Maple Park Village President Kathy Curtis did not return messages requesting comment. But Borg and fellow village Trustee Greg Cutsinger said they supported lifting the ban as a way of supporting Maple Park’s businesses.

“The feedback we got from our bar owners is that they believe this will help them broaden their appeal to their customer base,” Cutsinger said. “And we’re trying to help them.”

Cutsinger noted that bar owners still would need to apply to the state for a permit to install and operate the machines. He said those permits may not be approved for at least six months, and it could be a year before the first machines are in operation in Maple Park.

The trustees estimated three businesses ultimately could obtain permits and begin operating the machines in the village.

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