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Sycamore may add gambling rules

Published: Monday, Nov. 5, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

SYCAMORE – The Sycamore City Council will vote to establish local licensing and penalty regulations for video gaming in city bars and fraternal clubs.

The proposed regulations would be in addition to state laws and would require bar owners to submit a layout of the exact locations of the gaming terminals, pay a $100 annual license fee and face penalties of up to $500 if they fail to meet any of the requirements.

An additional requirement, enacted at the request of Alderwoman Janice Tripp, would prohibit anyone younger than 21 from being within 10 feet of the machines. Tripp said she did not want parents sitting with children on their laps as they gambled and believed the city should have a law in writing to discourage the behavior.

“It’s totally against the law for minors to be operating these machines, but the thinking is to keep them away from the machines entirely,” Mayor Ken Mundy said. “We want to remove the temptation to have little Billy or Suzie play a machine with the adults.”

Based on a city survey of bars and fraternal organizations, officials calculated Sycamore could generate $99,000 a year if 32 gaming terminals are requested. City Manager Brian Gregory stressed the revenue figure is only an estimate.

The council also will review the city’s fire and police pension funds.

The police pension is funded at 76.9 percent and has $9.8 million in assets with $2.9 million in unfunded liability. The fire department pension is funded at 65.6 percent with $10.3 million in assets and $5.4 million in unfunded liability.

Mundy said both pensions are healthy and doing better than the state averages for municipal pension funds.

“The state average is somewhere in the low 60s,” Mundy said of the percent of funded pensions. “Comparatively speaking, we’re doing very well.”

Employee contributions in both pensions are estimated to be $393,000 this year while the city is expected contribute about $915,000. A little more than $1 million was paid out in benefits to 28 annuitants last year. There are 58 active employees in the plans combined.

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