Elgin council tables video gambling
By Mike Danahey email@example.com June 13, 2012 8:00PM
Updated: July 15, 2012 3:36PM
It remains a crapshoot as to whether there will be other legal video gambling in Elgin besides what goes on at the Grand Victoria Casino.
A discussion of the matter was supposed to happen at Wednesday’s council meeting, but Councilman Rich Dunne moved to table it. The motion carried by a 5 to 1 vote, with Councilman John Prigge casting the only no vote (and Councilman Robert Gilliam absent).
“What other information are we supposed to be considering?” Prigge asked after Mayor Dave Kaptain provided a handout to other council members.
The document, provided by Kevin Gelatka of G3 Gaming, claims, among other things, that video gaming proceeds “help to strengthen businesses’ ability to continue to pay property taxes and even make improvements which result in higher property tax bills;” that the city’s 5 percent share of the take will generate a 45 percent increase in tax revenue to Elgin from the participating businesses; and that such gaming will improve the profitability of the establishments that offer it.
After the Committee of the Whole meeting, Kaptain said the tabling actually was because service clubs are putting together a proposal to allow them to have video gambling but not for-profit places — and the city is looking into the legality of such a move.
The Illinois General Assembly passed the Video Gaming Act in 2009 to help pay for a $31 billion capital improvement program. The law allows establishments where alcohol is served for consumption, plus licensed fraternal and veterans establishments, and truck stops, to conduct video gambling. It also allows municipalities to opt out and ban it or to stick with existing local ordinances. The act calls for the gaming vendor and the host establishment each to get 35 percent of profits, with the state getting 25 percent and the local municipality 5 percent.
There is no deadline for municipalities to decide on the issue. In the towns that will allow video gambling, terminals could be installed as early as August, pending background checks on applicants. In Elgin’s case, city officials say the council would have to rescind what’s on the books, then create a new ordinance opting into the state’s program.
Thus far, Carmina’s Restaurant and Banquets, 1055 N. Randall Road; Eaton’s Redwood Inn, 118 W. Chicago St.; Elgin Buffet, 300 S. McLean Blvd.; Gasthaus zur Linde, 11-15 N. Grove St.; Hoppes Corner, 1075 N. Liberty St.; and Islas Marias, 938 E. Chicago St., have applied to the state for a video gaming license, with others expressing interest, including Moose Lodge 799, 925 S. McLean Blvd.
Businessman Jim McGrath was at the Wednesday meeting hoping the council would approve the video gaming, which he feels would help his new pub, McGruber’s, which is supposed to open in a month or so. In April the Liquor Commission approved a restaurant level liquor license for McGruber’s, 1350 E. Chicago St., on the eastern edge of Elgin. The pub will be in an L-shaped strip mall and will have seating for 75 people.