Trustees consider video gaming decision
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Trustees must decide if they want to prohibit or allow video gambling within the Village limits now that formal rules have been adopted by the Illinois Gaming Board regulating gaming machines. The issue was tabled for the second time at the Board’s June 18 meeting to allow new Village Administrator Mike Miller time to prepare a written report that will be presented at the Board’s July 2 meeting.
At the June 18 meeting, which was his first as administrator, Miller said it would be difficult to quantify video gambling as a source of revenue for the Village and suggested that trustees weigh this form of entertainment against the social cost associated with the Village’s vision statement of a family-focused community.
Previously, Village Attorney Jeff Jurgens had advised trustees of their two choices during the June 4 Board meeting. He said a 2009 Video Gaming Act was signed into law, allowing video gaming machines in certain businesses, including bars, fraternal clubs, truck stops at least three acres in size and veterans’ organizations. It also would include all Forsyth establishments with a valid liquor license, including several restaurants and two gas stations. Unless Forsyth has an ordinance banning video gaming within its corporate limits, any of the aforementioned establishments are entitled to apply to the Illinois Gaming Board for a license.
“Although the Village has some provisions within the Village Code prohibiting gambling, it is our recommendation that the Village Board consider banning video gaming pursuant to the provisions of the Act and under a separate chapter in the Village Code,” Jurgens said in a written memo. If video gaming is allowed, certain provisions on amusement devices with the Village Code should be amended, he said. Currently, the Village charges $15 for an amusement license issued to the vendor for the operation of each non-gambling machine.
In late 2009, trustees initially discussed the new Video Gaming Act but failed to reach a formal decision on how to proceed on this issue. At that time all the managers of Forsyth’s 11 local restaurants were sent a letter from Mayor Hap Gilbert asking them for their views on the new video gaming law. Trustee Eric Morr went on record at the time as saying that he is against gambling in Forsyth and would “vote it down.” He added that he would seek input from other Forsyth residents.
Mayor Gilbert was absent from the June 4 Board meeting when the issue resurfaced, but said in a later interview that “...we need to outlaw video gambling.” He added that he was not aware of any response from restaurant managers pertaining to the letters he sent earlier.
A video gaming terminal is any electronic game in which a player, upon insertion of cash, may receive free games or credits that may be redeemed for cash. The term does not apply to a machine that directly dispenses coins, cash or tokens, or to one for amusement purposes alone.