No Poker Face for DuPage County

Unanimously, immediately bans video poker

The DuPage County Board on Tuesday dealt a unanimous blow to Gov. Pat Quinn and his plans to generate revenue by expanding video gambling machines.

The ordinance, which takes effect immediately, was drafted and brought forward by Board Member Brien Sheahan and will affect 35 establishments in unincorporated areas of the county, according to a release from the board.  DuPage is the first county in Illinois to enact such a restriction.

"I brought this initiative forward because I believe video gambling would have an adverse effect on county government and our citizens," Sheahan said.

Video gambling is expected to fuel a third of the $31 billion capital bill. The county will still get its share for roads and bridges, but not the $300,000 expected from video gaming revenues.

"We are giving that up. We recognize that we are giving that up. Our quality of life, the future of our community and our families, is more important than that," said County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom, who is also a Republic candidate for governor. "We don't want to be the new Las Vegas."

Quinn defended the gambling-financed capital package during a bill-signing ceremony Tuesday when he was told of the DuPage vote.

"I don't think we should jump the gun here," said Quinn, noting there are other funding sources for the construction plan, most notably higher alcohol taxes and vehicle fees. "If some communities choose not to have (video gambling), it's OK by me."

Other counties, including Cook County, are considering similar bans, but Under Section 27 of the state's Video Gaming Act, enacted July 13, those county votes would only apply to unincorporated areas.  A gambling expansion ban in a municipality would require a vote by city leaders. Will County will take a vote this week.

"This is not a Republican issue. This is not a DuPage County issue. This is a bi-partisan issue, and it really transcends throughout the entire state," said Cook County Board Commissioner Bridget Gainer, who supports the ban.

Copyright CHIST - SunTimes
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