Tinley Park retains gambling ban
By Matthew Bruce Correspondent June 6, 2012 11:40PM
Cannery Casino Resorts wants to build a $250 million casino in Country Club Hills. | File photo
Updated: July 8, 2012 6:58PM
Tinley Park officials voted Tuesday to outlaw gambling on video gaming machines inside liquor-licensed establishments in the village.
Despite pleas from local bar owners, the village board voted unanimously to ban the video poker and roulette terminals.
Officials said the ban is in line with its traditional hard-line stance against all forms of gambling. But some at Tuesday night’s meeting argued the ban could have an adverse effect on village businesses.
Roger Barton, club manager at the Bremen VFW, 17147 S. Oak Park Ave., asked the board to amend the ordinance and allow for non-profit fraternal lounges in the village to operate the machines in their establishments for a one-year trial basis.
Barton noted American Legion Post 615, the Harald Viking Lodge and the Eiche Turner Lodge as other places in town that should be exempt from the ban. He argued the ban would drive customers to neighboring towns such as Orland Hills and Oak Forest, where video gambling is not prohibited.
The village approved an ordinance in the 1960s illegalizing gaming within its limits. It passed another gambling ban in 1984.
However, a 2009 state law opened the door for betting on video terminals in liquor-licensed establishments and a proposed bill would essentially void gambling bans approved by municipalities before July 13, 2009, the date the state’s Video Gaming Act became effective.
Both state measures include a provision allowing municipalities to approve local ordinances opting out of video game machines.
Tuesday’s Tinley Park ordinance allows the village to keep its gaming law from being superseded by state rule.
“The thing I’m hearing on the streets is that the police are against this because of the trouble. I don’t see any trouble with the machines,” said Terry Luby, owner of Luby’s Pub & Steakhouse, 6657 South St.
“We’re not talking about bringing casinos and roulette wheels in,” he said. “This is a nickel slot machine. This is not a big gambling vice.”
Despite the sentiments from business owners, some residents on hand Tuesday were supportive of the ordinance.
The Rev. Hyemin Na, pastor at Tinley Park United Methodist Church, encouraged the gambling ban. She read letters from other clergy members, who also support the ban.
“Tinley Park has been a family community, and by allowing these types of establishments, it will tear down the very moral fiber our mayor has worked so hard to build,” Na read.