Wanna Bet Who'll Win Video Poker Debate?

Suburbs to take law into own hands

By Steve Rhodes
|  Monday, Jun 1, 2009  |  Updated 9:45 AM CDT
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Wanna Bet Who'll Win Video Poker Debate?

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Not in my suburb!

"Many suburban mayors worried about increased crime, poverty and addiction appear poised to ban slot-like machines in their towns if Gov. Pat Quinn signs a law allowing up to five of the video gambling devices in every liquor-serving business," the Daily Herald reports.

The paper found 13 mayors in the North, West and Northwest suburbs who don't want video poker in their towns, and another two dozen who are undecided.

"I would fight it," the mayor of Lincolnshire told the paper.

"This is a bad idea," the mayor of Arlington Heights said.

"Just one establishment with five machines automatically calls for more bar checks and compliance enforcement, so it's much easier to not have to worry about those things," the mayor of Bloomingdale said.

Even those mayors are likely to be targeted for a fight, though.

"In Springfield, lobbyists for bar owners and video game distributors and manufacturers pushed the legalization through the legislature," the paper notes. "Those same interests are expected to continue the push locally."

Illinois companies are standing by ready to profit, the Daily Herald reports in a separate story.

"We know how to make games that adults will put money in," says Gary Colabuono, marketing director for Arlington Heights-based Incredible Technologies, the maker of Golden Tee.

And the industry is already marshaling its arguments.

"To those concerned about gaming addiction, please understand this: a percentage of the licensing fees from the games will flow to addiction programs for local communities," the Illinois Coin Machine Operators Association says in a letter to the paper.

It's a win-win! 

The Daily Herald's FAQ on the video poker legislation is here.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review. He prefers craps.

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