Video gambling ban reversed this month for unincorporated Kane

By on June 4, 2010

by Keith Beebe
COUNTY—It seemed like local video gambling would never see the light of day after Elburn voted to ban poker and blackjack machines from its bars and restaurants in September 2009.

What a difference eight months can make.

The Kane County Board on May 11 voted to remove its previous ban on video gambling in the unincorporated areas of Kane County, allowing any establishment in those areas to own and operate video gambling machines.

Video gambling has been a local hot-button issue since the state of Illinois enacted a law in July 2009 allowing it at establishments with liquor licenses throughout the state, prompting both Elburn and Kaneville to act quickly and implement village-wide bans on video gambling last fall. The Kane County Board followed suit in December 2009, banning video gambling in unincorporated areas of the county.

The Kane County Board recently decided to reverse the ban in unincorporated Kane partly because the state’s share of video gambling revenue is expected to account for somewhere between 25 and 33 percent of the funding for the state capital bill, a spending program funding statewide road and infrastructure improvements.

Kane County Board member Drew Frasz (Dist. 26-Elburn) voted against repealing the video-gambling ban.

“We all want and support the (state) capital bill and the jobs it will create, but I don’t think the negative effects video gambling brings with it are worth it,” he said. “I wish the unions and special interests had put their energy toward finding an alternate funding source for that portion of the capital bill funded by video gambling. I also think this shows the power that special interests and union money has in certain political circles.”