Elburn bans video gambling

By on September 10, 2009

Decision makes village 1st in area to implement ban
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board is the first local government body to ban video gambling in bars and clubs within its jurisdiction since the state began permitting the activity in July.

On Tuesday, the board voted 4-2 to prohibit video gambling in Elburn establishments.

Voting for the ban were trustees Patricia Romke, Bill Grabarek, Jeff Walter and Ken Anderson. Trustees Gordon Dierschow and Jerry Schmidt voted against the ban.

Before the board voted, it welcomed comments about the proposed ban from those attending the Village Board meeting. Among them was Darlene Marcusson of Elburn, who submitted a petition from 81 residents asking the board to prohibit video gambling.

Marcusson is an addictions counselor and the director of Lazarus House homeless shelter in St. Charles. In recent weeks, she has urged Elburn officials to institute the ban and forego the tax dollars and business that video gambling could bring to the village.

“Just because it would make money does not mean it’s a good thing,” Marcusson said.

Marcusson asked that trustees with any interest in allowing video gambling abstain from voting.

Trustee Schmidt, whose son, Kevin Schmidt, plans to open a bar in downtown Elburn, defended his decision to participate in the board’s vote.

“I just want to make it clear, I have no interest in my son’s business,” Schmidt said. “I wish him well, but I am here to represent the interests of the village.”

Schmidt wanted the board to table the issue rather than banning video gambling, since other local governments have not prohibited it.

“What’s the big rush for Elburn to ban it, when nobody else is?” Schmidt said.

Trustees Ken Anderson and Jeff Walter said they talked to many residents in recent weeks and most of them wanted the ban.

“I think, in general, the feeling is, people just aren’t interested in having video gambling here in Elburn,” Walter said.

Trustee Romke said although no local towns have banned it, others in the state have, including Buffalo Grove. Romke said video gambling in Elburn establishments would not be family-oriented, which is the type of community she wants Elburn to be and that Buffalo Grove is.

Marcusson also spoke in favor of the ban at the last board meeting, during which trustees voted informally two weeks ago to ban video gambling. The decision required approval of a municipal ordinance.

Trustee Grabarek said he is concerned about how the state’s video gambling rules and regulations will be enforced, since it will be an overburdened Illinois Gaming Board doing it rather than local police, under state law.

Grabarek reiterated that the Village Board could revoke the ban later, if it decided that video gambling should be allowed in Elburn.