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Mokena to decide Monday on video gambling

Updated: November 9, 2012 6:11AM



Whether Mokena will allow video gambling could be decided at the village board meeting at 7 p.m. Monday.

Mayor Joe Werner said he will present an amendment to an existing ordinance that bans gambling. If the board does not act on the amendment or fails to approve it, video gambling would continue to be prohibited in the village under the current regulations.

Werner said he is bringing the proposal forward so residents will see the board finally make a decision on the issue.

“We took a long time to analyze it and get input,” Werner said.

After polling residents and businesses, the mayor said 80 percent of residents have no opinion, while about 13 of 50 eligible business said they would use the gambling devices. Based on those numbers, allowing video gambling would result in $49,000 in annual revenue for the village, Werner said.

To help finance a roughly $30 billion capital improvement plan, Illinois lawmakers in 2009 legalized video poker machines at licensed restaurants, taverns, truck stops, fraternal groups and other locations where alcohol is allowed.

The law allows local governments to opt out of the plan and prohibit the machines. While some machines are being tested, a statewide launch of video gambling has yet to occur.

William Martin VFW Post 725 in Mokena is among the organizations saying it needs video gambling to survive.

“Without video gaming, we are in the red today,” post Cmdr. Jim Hogan said recently.

Five “amusement only” machines were taken out of the VFW in August.



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