DuPage County Repeals Video Gambling Prohibition to Make Local Liquor Licensee More Competitive to Neighboring Areas-Based Counterparts

Ten years after the decision of DuPage to suspend video gambling, the county’s board stroke down the prohibition.

Yesterday, following a discussion about the effect which the ban has had on local liquor license holders in unincorporated areas, the board of DuPage county voted 11-6 to annul the prohibition. Recently, county officials have heard evidence from local business owners and video gambling proponents who have been claiming that the addition of video gambling terminals to their premises would not only help them generate some fresh revenue but would also help them stay competitive to businesses in neighboring areas where video gambling is legal.

While eleven members of the county board backed the measure, six of them voted against the video gambling ban repeal – Tim Elliott, Sean Noonan, Grant Eckhoff, Robert Larsen, Pete DiGianni and Jim Healy. Some of them have shared fears that businesses in municipalities that do not allow video gambling could face certain problems.

One of the members of the county board, Jim Zay, shared in a statement that the bars, restaurants and other liquor licensees in so-called unincorporated areas in DuPage had been at a disadvantage to similar establishments in neighboring municipalities where video gambling had not been banned. As explained by Mr. Zay, the annulment of the ban has helped local officials to create more favorable operating conditions for businesses situated in unincorporated areas.

According to him, the legalization of video gambling would be beneficial for small businesses across the county. Apart from that, preliminary estimates have shown that legal video gambling services could bring DuPage revenue of approximately $275,000 on an annual basis.

There Are 27 Liquor License Holders Eligible for Video Gambling License in DuPage County

Video gambling was officially legalized in the state of Illinois in 2009, with local towns and counties being offered the opportunity to decide for themselves whether to add the new form of gambling to their legal gambling sector or not.

DuPage took advantage of this prerogative, and local officials enacted the ban in August the same year, making it the first county in the state which suspended the activity. The decision was made after some anti-gambling campaigners shared their concern that the addition of video gambling could result in possible harm for the local community.

This time, a number of board members revealed there have not been major issues with video gambling and its legalization. Apart from that, some of them have shared an opinion that people are going to gamble regardless of the legality of video gambling, so it would be better if they had a legal option to do that.

Currently, 27 liquor license holders are eligible to file applications for video gambling licenses. As unveiled by Mr. Zay, there are currently fewer liquor license holders in the county than before as a number of businesses have agreed to be annexed into municipalities where video gambling was legalized.

Under the existing Illinois gambling legislation, businesses situated in so-called unincorporated areas that own valid liquor licenses could file applications for video gambling licenses through the state. Each of these businesses may be allowed to install up to 6 video gambling machines.

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