Lake Zurich rejects video gambling proposal
Updated: October 28, 2012 6:08AM
The Lake Zurich Village Board voted last week to ban video gambling.
Prior to the Sept. 17 vote, many of the board members expressed no personal opposition to video gambling, but they explained that they don’t think it’s right for Lake Zurich.
Several community members addressed the issue as well. The majority told trustees that allowing the machines in certain establishments would bring little benefit to the community.
Under the state’s video gambling legislation, bars, restaurants, fraternal clubs, veterans establishments and truck stops could have as many as five video gaming terminals per establishment. However, counties and municipalities can opt out of video gambling.
Municipalities that have recently voted to allow video gambling include Wauconda and Carol Stream.
Lake Zurich trustees Rich Sustich and Terry Mastandrea, however, both said they were hesitant to approve the video gambling proposal because of a lack of information on how it might impact a community long term.
“It’s not an issue of the sin of gambling,” said Sustich. “The real issue is that there is a lack of history on the concept of video gambling.”
While video gaming could be a significant revenue stream, there also are increased local costs from extra surveillance at the establishments and the administrative costs of issuing violations concerning the use of the machines.
“There’s no one around us we can turn to,” said Sustich. “So we don’t know what it’s going to cost.”
Lake Zurich resident Elise Bouc told trustees that she thinks allowing video gambling would be financially detrimental the community. She maintained that the money these machines would bring in would be eventually cancelled out in social service costs related to potential problems associated with gambling.
“This is a losing proposition for Lake Zurich,” said Bouc, adding that she believes video gambling is more addictive than other forms of gambling.
Bouc referenced a friend of hers whose husband became addicted to gambling, which sent the family into financial ruin.
“So we’re also bringing in an element of corruption,” she said.
John Barrington, president of the Lake Zurich American Legion post, spoke up in favor of video gambling. He said the money brought in from the machines could be used for future capital projects in town.
Residents who support the video gambling initiative also have argued that poker nights are regularly held throughout the community, and lottery tickets are available at gas stations and convenience stores.
“We have gambling all around us, even in churches,” Barrington said.
Sustich said the ban could be temporary. The village can use additional time to gauge the costs and benefits of video gambling in neighboring towns. The extra research, he explained, would give Lake Zurich a clearer picture of the impact video gambling might have on communities.
“Maybe in six months, there will be more opportunities for us to look at it again,” Sustich said. ~.