Letter to the Editor: Village's Video Gaming Stance
Palatine resident questions the village's true position in regards to the potential of video gambling making its way to Palatine.
In response to the article "Video Gaming: Palatine Takes Wait-and-See Approach", I maintain that the Village Board actually quietly permitted video gaming back in March when they appended the clause "unless otherwise exempted by law" to ordinance "Sec. 3-14. Gambling Prohibited. There shall be no card games or gambling allowed on any premises licensed to sell alcoholic liquor." While there was no discussion by the council in passing this revision, the agenda packet mentioned allowing 'Pull Tabs' as one reason.
Now, don't get me wrong. I absolutely do not want video gambling in Palatine. However, after pursuing this issue with the Village for the past eight months I am thoroughly convinced that Palatine officials are doing everything they possibly can to avoid fixing our local ordinance to actually prohibit video gambling, whereas today it is clearly permitted for our establishments serving liquor.
I say this in stark contrast to Village Manager Reid Ottesen's statement in the article that our village ordinance clearly states video gaming is not allowed in Palatine. Surely, one of us is wrong. In building my case, I have examined the ordinances of dozens of towns who claim to permit video gambling and do so by referencing in whole or in part a particular section of State law, 720 ILCS 5/28-1, which lists various forms of gambling which are "exempt" from the term "illegal gambling". One example is the Village of Elk Grove's ordinance "6-8-1 Gambling Defined" followed by "6-8-2 Exemptions." On July 10 of this year Elk Grove added to the exemptions item "G. Video gaming as authorized by and pursuant to the Illinois Video Gaming Act".
Other towns allow all forms of gambling exempted by the State, past, present and future. Palatine is one of those towns with their general clause "unless otherwise exempted by law". The issue in Palatine takes on greater urgency with the Palatine American Legion filing an application for Video Gaming with the Illinois Gaming Board, despite Palatine claiming that they do not permit it. Clearly the American Legion's attorney, who filed their application, is not fazed by Palatine's claim. I believe it is only a matter of time before the Illinois Gaming Board issues a Video Gaming License to them at which point there would be nothing that Palatine could do to stop it as licensing for video gaming is exclusively held by the Illinois Gaming Board.
Once again I publicly challenge Mr. Ottesen, or any of the village council, to answer the following two questions:1. Specifically what are the "exemptions in law" to which the new clause "unless otherwise exempted by law" refers, which minimally now permits 'Pull Tabs'?2. How could this new clause now permit 'Pull Tabs' while also not allowing 'Video Gaming'? I also ask why Palatine officials refuse to either (1) amend their clause to limit the exemptions to only 'Pull Tabs', or (2) simply pass the traditional 'Opt Out' ordinance for video gaming. Their inaction in resolving this issue and avoidance in answering my questions speak volumes.
Mark Evenson, Palatine resident
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