Lansing officials to consider video poker machines next month

2012-09-05T08:54:00Z 2012-09-06T01:20:36Z Lansing officials to consider video poker machines next monthBy Gregory Tejeda Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
September 05, 2012 8:54 am  • 

LANSING | Village President Norm Abbott said he expects local officials to vote in October to permit some local businesses to apply for state licenses required for video poker machines.

How the ordinance regulating the machines will be crafted, however, is yet to be determined.

Abbott said Tuesday following a Village Board meeting that the measure is being crafted, and he is not sure of its final form yet.

But Abbott reiterated his belief that an ordinance can be crafted that would permit the businesses currently operating the machines for amusement purposes only to apply for state licenses allowing the machines to pay out prizes to the winners.

"We’re trying to grandfather those machines in without creating more machines," Abbott said.

That ordinance has been the cause of concern for some Lansing business owners such as taverns, restaurants and bowling alleys who are eager to apply for licenses from the Illinois Gaming Board to allow them to install the video poker machines that are now legal in Illinois.

When state officials said earlier this year they would start implementing the new video poker machine law and issuing the licenses, many municipalities rushed to change their local restrictions on gambling.

Those communities include Calumet City, Chicago Heights and Glenwood.

But Lansing has resisted. Some village trustees have said they wouldn’t mind keeping a gambling ban in place.

“What we want to do is keep our ordinance against gambling on the books, while permitting some exceptions," Abbott said.

Abbott said 20 machines are currently in Lansing businesses.

He said that local ordinances currently allow businesses to have up to five of the machines, but added that he is unaware of any local business that has more than three in place.

Donald Genovese, owner of the Lan-Oak Lanes bowling alley at 2524 Ridge Road, said he filed his application for a license earlier this summer, not realizing Lansing officials would be reluctant to change local ordinances.

Charles Mabry, hall manager of the American Legion Edward Schultz Post 697, continued to plead the issue Tuesday.

“We’d like to see this brought to a vote (before the Village Board) as quickly as possible," Mabry said.

How soon that could be was questionable because Abbott was vague beyond saying "October." The Village Board has meetings scheduled for Oct. 1 and 15, with a Committee of the Whole session also scheduled for the Oct. 1 date.

Abbott said the issue could be discussed by trustees at that committee session but would not commit that it would get a final vote at the latter Village Board meeting.

“We’ll discuss it then, but we’ll have to see what the trustees think,” he said.

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