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No gaming in Woodridge: Board shoots down proposal to lift ban on video gambling

Published: Friday, April 25, 2014 11:44 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:54 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Bill Ackerman - backerman@shawmedia.com)
Rich Lenski (front) and Chris Adair sit down at two of the video gaming systems at DJ's Sports Bar & Grill in Westmont in October. Bill Ackerman - backerman@shawmedia.com

WOODRIDGE – There will be no video game gambling in Woodridge.

Despite pleas from local establishment owners who said the gambling terminals could net them another source of much-needed revenue, the Woodridge Village Board shot down a proposal to lift the ban on video gaming by a narrow 4-3 vote Thursday night.

The board had discussed the topic over the past four months, with a majority ultimately deciding what was best for the 10 businesses that could operate the gaming terminals under the proposal was not best for the entire community.

Prior to the vote, Mayor Gina Cunningham read a statement against the lifting the ban.

"Tonight's decision should not be purely based on a business decision," Cunningham read. "I care tremendously about our businesses. I also care tremendously about our residents and our community and I have listened closely to what they have shared."

The mayor then countered arguments that the ban leaves local establishments at a disadvantage to those in neighboring communities that allow video gaming.

"Regarding being competitive ... Some of our closest neighboring communitiess – Lisle, Downers Grove, Naperville and Bolingbrook – have not lifted their ban on video gaming," she said.

Area communities that allow video gaming include Westmont, Darien, Willowbrook and Lemont.

The proposal Thursday night was a scaled-back version of one discussed at the April 10 board meeting, when trustees expressed hesitance at lifting the ban and asked administration to formulate a proposal that would limit the gaming machines to just 10 businesses.

At that meeting, a handful of trustees expressed that residents largely did not want video gaming in their community, touching on topics of crime related to gambling as well as the morality of enabling gamblers.

Lifting the ban on video gaming could have netted the Village of Woodridge up to $108,000 in annual revenue, according to village documents, while one business owner projected it could have brought his bar/restaurant an additional $5,000 to $8,000 a month.

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The votes

Against lifting the ban: Mayor Gina Cunningham, trustees Anne Banks, Pamela Beavers, Tim Goodwin

In favor of lifting the ban: Trustees Greg Abbott, Mary Anne Blair, Magin "Mike" Martinez

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