Palos Park Mayor John Mahoney and the village council could make a decision on Monday regarding video gaming. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Park Mayor John Mahoney and the village council could make a decision on Monday regarding video gaming. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Park could be making its decision on gaming on Monday

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By Jeff Vorva

Will Palos Park make its decision on bringing in gaming machines to the village on Monday?

The world will have to wait until Monday to find out.

The village council will meet for the first time in 2022 on Monday after its Jan. 10 meeting was cancelled because of a lack of a quorum.

Members of the council in December targeted this Monday’s meeting at the Kaptur Administrative Center as the day they make a decision on this matter. The tone since they first brought this up October 25 is that they want this done to help out city businesses, but they are not overly fond of having the machines in the village.

After investigating the matter closely, the council found that Cog Hill Country Club is the only business seriously clamoring for the machines.

The council last met Dec. 13 and Mayor John Mahoney said at the time that officials want to make sure they explore all phases of this issue.

“I think what the state of Illinois did when it allowed video gaming was an abomination,” Mahoney said about the 2010 decision. “This board voted to opt out of video gaming. The reason we’re doing it now…we need to make our case for ourselves and our residents of why it’s justified.

“That’s why this was tabled tonight. We need to drill down deeper to understand the impact to attracting the businesses that we want. We will work on this in the weeks to come.”

Commissioner G. Darryl Reed asked for members of the public to come to meetings and weigh in. In the past three meetings, nine citizens spoke and eight were against it.

For those who had concerns about how it would change the perception of the village, the council insisted on placing restrictions for those seeking a license, including:

  • Prohibiting video gaming cafes where more than 49 percent of the revenues would be from video gambling.
  • Allowing for the playing of video game only during permitted hours of liquor sales.
  • Placing video gaming terminals in a segregated area with a physical barrier and restricting play to those 21 years of age or older.
  • Allowing the max number of machines at six per establishment.
  • Requiring video surveillance of the gaming area with a minimum of 30 days of recording storage.
  • Prohibiting video gaming signage on the exterior of any establishment.
  • Requiring a direct connect burglar alarm system to the village’s police department.
  • Assessing a $25 per video terminal fee annually in addition to the cost of liquor licenses and other licenses.

Mahoney said on several occasions that he doesn’t like gambling. Commissioner Dan Polk said he does not frequent businesses that have gaming machines.

Commissioner Nicole Milovich-Walters has been adamant about having the machines as much out of the public view as possible. Reed said he wanted members of the public and businesses to come to meetings and make their arguments and thus far no business representative has spoken at meetings.

“It would be so easy for us, and me personally, to say ‘no’ to video gaming,” Mahoney said on Dec. 13. “We would not have to endure the public unhappiness. But you elected us to make the right decisions, not the easy decisions.

“But we have to give you all the information for an educated decision, and we will do so.”

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