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Local

Batavia VFW asks for repeal of video gambling ban

BATAVIA – Officials from the Batavia VFW are asking Batavia aldermen to reconsider the city's ban on video gambling.

Dale Richard, past commander of the Batavia Overseas Post 1197 VFW, and incoming district commander, told aldermen at Monday's Batavia City Council meeting that the organization is in competition with other organizations that have video gambling, such as the Aurora Turners Club and the Aurora VFW.

"We are in competition for volunteers," Richard said. The Batavia VFW has a post at 645 S. River St.

Batavia, along with Geneva and St. Charles, doesn't allow video gambling. Some communities that originally banned video gambling now allow it, including North Aurora, Sugar Grove and Elburn.

Bars, truck stops, social clubs and veterans organizations in those communities and counties with video gaming can have up to five gaming machines each. The Illinois Supreme Court in 2011 upheld the constitutionality of the Illinois Video Gaming Act.

Video gambling terminals have to be in an area restricted to people older than 21, and those under 21 cannot play on a video gambling terminal. An establishment’s liquor license can be taken away if it is caught breaking the rules.

Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke suggested that the issue be discussed at a future Joint Committee of the Whole meeting. Video gambling started in Illinois in October 2012.

"All the little kinks with video gambling have been ironed out at this point," Richard said Tuesday. "The rules are set, the enforcement is set and where the money goes is set. I feel very comfortable that the City Council will look at it with an open mind."

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