by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday took up the issue of video gambling, three years after passing an ordinance prohibiting it in the village.
“There were too many questions (in 2009),” Village President Dave Anderson said. “We were wise to wait until we found out more about the regulations.”
Trustee Jeff Walter said that two businesses in town have approached him about revisiting the gambling issue. Noting that the Blackberry Inn in unincorporated Kane County has video gambling machines, Walter wondered if the Elburn establishments were going to lose customers and tax dollars because of it.
Also, the village of Sugar Grove last month voted to legalize video gambling in town, reversing an earlier ordinance prohibiting it. Through an advisory referendum in April, Elburn village officials will ask residents what they think about the gambling issue.
Trustee Bill Grabarek said that he wouldn’t want to do anything that would injure the local businesses, especially given the slow recovery of the economy.
“I would reconsider it,” he said.
Grabarek said that although he had been concerned about the impact video gaming would have on the community and the businesses in town, he said he has not observed any “gang wars” at the Blackberry Inn.
“I just see a lot of cars in the parking lot,” he said.
“It’s an opportunity,” Anderson said.
Kane County Board member Drew Frasz, who was in the audience during the meeting, had a different take on the issue, stating that he was opposed to video gambling in Elburn. The Kane County Board in 2010 reversed its initial ban and approved video gambling in the unincorporated areas of the county, but Frasz was not in favor of it.
“It doesn’t make money, it redistributes it,” he said. “A dollar spent on video machines is a dollar not spent down the street at the grocery store or other establishment.”
The Village Board agreed to gather more information and will look at a draft ordinance, prepared by village staff, at the Committee of the Whole meeting on Feb. 11.