DeKALB – About a month after local businesses made a case for it, the DeKalb City Council will discuss the prospect of allowing video gambling in the city.
Although city council members have discussed it before, Monday’s committee of the whole meeting will be the first time the council members will see what it would look like as an ordinance, City Manager Mark Biernacki said. Two details that have not been determined are an application fee to the city for a gaming terminal license, and a renewal fee.
State legislators voted to allow video gambling in 2009 as a way to fund a variety of capital projects. However, a number of municipalities, including the city of DeKalb, already have ordinances outlawing video gambling machines.
Only bars, truck stops and fraternal organizations with liquor licenses would be allowed to have the machines. They are not allowed within 1,000 feet of any existing gambling venue (such as a casino or riverboat), or within 100 feet of a school or place of worship. Biernacki said this is measured from building to building, not property line to property line.
Each establishment can have a total of five machines; the officials project each machine would generate $11,500 a year in tax revenue. Biernacki said officials are looking for the city to earn $150,000 to $200,000 a year.
The program is regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board. All of the machines will be connected to a central
communications system, similar to how lottery machines are regulated.
The gaming board has so far approved 18 locations for video gambling, although Gene O’Shea, director of the board’s self-exclusion program, said they have received at least 1,000 applications. However, the majority of those applications are either incomplete or from municipalities that have outlawed gambling.
In DeKalb County, 11 locations have applied for video gambling licenses. Three of those locations are in the city – KJ’s Tap, 518 E. Lincoln Highway, American Legion Post No. 66, 1204 S. 4th St., and Mardi Gras Lanes, 1730 Sycamore Road.
Other municipalities are considering allowing their establishments to have video gambling. On June 18, the Sycamore City Council split their vote on the issue, and decided to bring the issue back for more discussion; nearby Sandwich, Genoa and Waterman are reported to be considering it too.
“I am not sensing any type of sentiment on the part of the council to rush this through,” Biernacki said, when asked if DeKalb was looking to beat the other municipalities in approving this ordinance.
But even if all of the county’s municipalities were to fast-track their own ordinance-approval processes, it is unknown when those machines would come online. O’Shea said Aug. 1 was a possibility, but Joe Schatteman, deputy legislative director for the Illinois Municipal League, wrote in April that the launch time for the machines would likely be fall 2012 or winter 2013.
Other business the council will discuss on Monday:
- Approving a nearly $1 million contract to Alliance Contractors for street improvements
- Approving the purchase of new financial software
- Approving the installation of new digital radios in the Voluntary Action Center’s bus fleet.