Video Gambling Rejected Again in Elmhurst

A majority vote with Elmhurst aldermen recently agreed to uphold the 2009 ban on video gambling in the city, most said that they were sympathetic to the plight of businesses in city, the fraternal and veterans' organizations but they believed that most constituents were opposed to the lifting of the ban.

The results of 11-3 vote was reached just before midnight, after more than four hours at a City Council meeting, the meeting drew comments for and against the issue, from over than 40 speakers, which included residents, business owners as well as representatives of the fraternal and veterans' organizations. This was prior to the 14 aldermen speaking their views.

The call for unbanning came from Brendan Fitzharris of Fitz's Pub situated in downtown Elmhurst who had urged the aldermen to lift the ban, he noted that many of the nearby towns allowing gambling.

He mentioned that old bars and new bars were struggling, say the main reason for needing this is their customers were no longer patronizing them and are going to other towns because they can gamble there, as well as wining and dining.

A resident, Kristin Mehta one of those who spoke against lifting of the ban, claimed that an online petition had more than 500 signatures from residents who opposed to the lifting the ban. She continued that losses would be from friends and neighbors, and reiterat4ed that they respect, and thank, our veterans, but she said that the truth of video gambling could just be a Band-Aid, for a larger problem."

Although much of what was said was to be expected, there were some surprises one of which was Kevin McGourty of The Tap Room Gaming, who provides video gaming terminals, has urged caution and mentioned a nearby town that needed a liquor license that was in good standing for a year, before their establishment obtained a gambling agreement.

He suggested that they delay the decision and to look at what could be done in the future to protech the City of Elmhurst.

Jim Blessing, who, with his wife, owns Pints in the 100 block of South York Street, said that he supported video gambling, but that he would not put the machines in his establishment as they didn't fit the character of his family-friendly business.

John Scudder, who is the commander of American Legion T. H. B. Post 187, has listed all the services that his organization does for veterans, which included lunches for the disabled veterans, Thanksgiving dinners for the recruits from the Naval Station, Great Lakes, a host of medical and social programs, support and transportation. He said that these programs require a lot of revenue and therefore require financial help. Therefore he stated that "We need video gambling”.

Recommendations were considered by council members.

One of them called for a majority report, that recommended allowing five video gambling machines to be placed in in bars and restaurants, with the fraternal and veterans' organizations together with a valid liquor license and 75% of the revenue coming from sales of food and beverage.

And Committee member Ald. Norman Leader had submitted a one-man "minority" report, he recommending to allow video gaming only for the American Legion.

A third committee member, Ald. Dannee Polomsky, then declined to sign either of the reports, she said that she didn't support video gaming for any establishment in Elmhurst.

The message from Scudder's resonated with the Leader, who is himself an Army veteran. The Leader, along with Ald. Mark Mulliner, has made the original request to revisit the gambling issue.

The Leader said that what they were asking was an absolute necessary for the survival of the Elmhurst American Legion, and continued that it was important for them to be able to continue to providing succor and balm to America’s wounded warriors, who were often both wounded in mind and spirit, plus in need and want. Only three people voted fr this. The Leader, Mulliner and Ald. Scott Levin.

After that it was considered an up or down vote for video gambling in restaurants and bars with the requirement for a gaming license.

Ald. Kevin York had said he had been inundated with e-mails and also conversations that opposed any lifting of the ban, with 90% of the resident responses against video gaming.

Polomsky is already on record for his calling for a review of businesses liquor license fees, plus other business costs as well as the regulations that might hamper the city businesses competitiveness.