BATAVIA – Batavia aldermen on Monday rejected lifting the city’s ban on video gambling.
Only six of the 14 aldermen voted to lift the ban. Voting “yes” were 1st Ward Aldermen Garran Sparks and Michael O’Brien, 2nd Ward Alderman Alan Wolff, 5th Ward Alderman Lucy Thelin Atac, 6th Ward Alderman Lisa Clark and 7th Ward Alderman Dave Brown.
Voting “no” were 2nd Ward Alderman Marty Callahan, 3rd Ward Aldermen Dan Chanzit and Kyle Hohmann, 4th Ward Aldermen Jamie Saam and Susan Stark, 5th Ward Alderman Steve Vasilion, 6th Ward Alderman Nick Cerone and 7th Ward Alderman Drew McFadden.
“I don’t think it is a moral issue, it is a personal choice,” O’Brien said, in voting to lift the ban. “I would support it just to support our VFW, if anything.”
Several church leaders had spoken against lifting the ban.
Officials from the Batavia VFW had asked Batavia aldermen to reconsider the city’s ban on video gambling.
Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke said he couldn’t support lifting the ban because the proper controls to monitor video gambling are not yet in place.
“I think we are running this thing by a wing and a prayer,” Schielke said. Schielke previously had said he would veto lifting the ban.
Batavia, along with Geneva, St. Charles and Campton Hills, doesn’t allow video gambling.
Some communities that originally banned video gambling now allow it, including North Aurora, Sugar Grove and Elburn.
Batavia police Chief Gary w has said there is no evidence that video gambling causes an increase in crime.
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.