LANSING | Village President Norm Abbott said Tuesday he intends to maintain his village’s ban on gambling, but is willing to consider ordinance changes to permit legalized video poker machines.
Following the Village Board session, Abbott told The Times he is talking with attorneys about whether it is possible to maintain the ban on gambling but write an exemption specifically for video poker machines licensed by the state to businesses that in the past had such machines for amusement purposes only.
“I’m talking about grandfathering in the ‘amusement’ machines for the places that already have them,” Abbott said. “I’m not talking about any new machines.”
Illinois Gaming Board officials are in the process of issuing licenses to businesses that wish to have gambling machines that pay actual prizes, and many communities have amended their local laws to comply with the state law that would license such machines.
Lansing has done nothing on this issue, and some village officials have said they like the idea of maintaining a ban on gambling. That has business interests in Lansing upset, and many of them have shown up at Village Board sessions to complain about the ban, calling it impractical in today’s economy.
Abbott said he does not know how long it would take before any measure could be crafted for Village Board consideration, adding that no hearings on the issue are scheduled for the near future.
“Not at this time,” Abbott said.
Whether that would appease local supporters of having gambling machines in Lansing is uncertain.
Donald Genovese, owner of the Lan-Oak Lanes bowling alley at 2524 Ridge Road, said Tuesday he wants the Village Board to approve an ordinance in coming weeks that would permit him to have video poker machines at his bowling alley.
He pointed out the licensing process that state government puts businesses through if they want to have such machines, saying, “The longer it takes for the village to act, the farther behind (local businesses) fall.”
Among other people expressing concern was Charles Mabry, hall manager of the American Legion Edward Schultz Post 697, who on Tuesday presented village Clerk Patti Eidam with petitions he said contained more than 1,000 signatures of support for video poker in Lansing.