[quote]by Martha Quetsch
KANE COUNTYâ€”Two local towns, Elburn and Kaneville, have banned video gambling since the state enacted a law in July allowing the activity. Now, county officials are considering whether they want to allow it in unincorporated areas.
In places without a ban, restaurants and bars that serve liquor will be able to install gambling machines as soon as the state establishes formal regulations governing the new law.
A Kane County task force recently studied the issue and recommended against enacting a ban, in a 2-1 vote. Voting against the video gambling ban were task force Chairman Jesse Vazquez of Aurora and member Bob Kudlicki of Hampshire. The other task force member present, Drew Frasz of Elburn, voted in favor of the ban.
The three were the only task force members attending their meeting at which they voted. The group appointed by Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay included County Board member John Hoscheit of St. Charles, as well as Kane County State’s Attorney John Barsanti and Sheriff Pat Perez, who declined to to participate in task force meetings, Frasz said.
The county’s Executive Board will review the task force recommendation before the issue goes to the County Board for a final decision.
â€œThere will be plenty of opportunity for further debate at (future) Executive Committee and County Board meetings, and I intend to speak against video gambling,â€ Frasz said.
The task force met three times plus had two public hearings, one attended mainly by business and labor interests and one geared toward citizens, and social groups such as homeless shelters, churches and law enforcement, Frasz said.
The state will impose a 30 percent tax on the net income from each video gambling terminal, featuring poker, blackjack or other games. Part of that revenue will go to the municipality, or in unincorporated areas, to the county.
Kane County Board member Drew Frasz (Dist.26-Elburn), a member of the county’s Video Gambling Task Force, is in favor of a ban on video gambling now allowed by the state. He explained his reasons as follows:
â€¢ The opposition voiced to me by people in my district was 100 percent against expanded gambling, and I received no comments from businesses in my district, asking me to support it.
â€¢ I am concerned that the Illinois Gaming Commission has stated repeatedly that they are not in a position to oversee this, and that there is no way to keep organized crime out of it.
â€¢ I am concerned that a person that has had a few drinks and whose judgment may not be at its best will end up gambling away money that would otherwise go for groceries, gas, etc., resulting in local businesses losing revenue and sales tax to the local government.
â€¢ I have said that gambling does not make money, it redistributes it. I believe that any tax benefits gained by video gambling will be negated by lost local sales tax revenue and increased costs for social programs.
â€¢ It is clear to me the overwhelming majority of the residents of my district want to preserve the small-town, wholesome, and safe quality of life that they have fostered or have moved here to share in.