Video gaming is a go in Huntley despite a request by a trustee to hold a public hearing for residents to have their say.
“As a village trustee, I strive to learn the concerns of our residents and act in their best interests,” Trustee Harry Leopold said Thursday evening. “In this case, it is my conclusion that allowing video gambling in Huntley is not in their best interest.”
Huntley trustees voted 5-1 to amend an ordinance allowing video gaming in the village. The board voted the same way in passing an ordinance to license video gaming terminals.
Only businesses with liquor licenses can apply for a video gaming terminal and there will be rules and regulations the businesses must follow.
The village, along with other Illinois communities, was able to move ahead with video gaming after the Illinois Gaming Board adopted rules for the operation and regulation of terminals under the Video Gaming Act of 2009.
Leopold did not have the opportunity to do research or poll residents when the video gaming issue came up at the June 7 committee of the whole meeting, but he said he has done so since.
“I only said that we should not cloak ‘gambling’ with the softer word ‘gaming’,” he said. “Since no one pays money to win money, it simply is gambling.”
He conducted polls among residents last week, including 22 golfers and the majority opposed gambling in Huntley. He also polled a group of 88 bridge players, 81 were opposed to the idea, he said. Two other polls done later had similar results, he said.
While he recognizes the need to be concerned about local businesses and help them, “the special needs of a small minority of businesses with liquor license are outweighed by the interests of the general residency,” he said.
Leopold ask the board to table the discussion in favor of public hearings.
Mayor Charles Sass said trustees voiced their support at the June 7 meeting and he would not in favor of Leopold’s idea. Trustees had no comments and called the issue to a vote.
“We live in a democratic society where the majority rules,” he said after the hearing.