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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Council tables video gaming

  • Kewanee City Council asks for community feedback on video gaming
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  • The Kewanee City Council is looking for feedback from the community on a proposed ammendment to city ordinances which would establish a new license for video gaming terminal parlors. Council members discussed pros and cons of the proposal at Tuesday night’s city council meeting, postponed by Monday’s Columbus Day holiday.
    On the recommendation of city manager Kip Spear, the council voted to table action on the amendment and urged citizens to either pass along their views to a city council member or attend a meeting of the city plan commission at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, in the city council chambers, where the request will be considered.
    Mayor Bruce Tossell said a petition has been filed by an out-of-town concern to open a video gaming parlor at 115 East Second St., but according to state law, such establishments must have a license to sell liquor.
    The Illinois Video Gaming Act allows existing taverns, clubs and fraternal organizations which hold licenses to sell liquor on their premises to apply for permits for up to five gaming terminals which would be attached to a centralized network controlled by the state. The gaming parlors can also have up to five terminals but the difference would be that the primary activity would be gambling and sale of alcohol secondary. The parlors were described as more “up scale” serving primarily coffee and wine coolers and only holding a liquor license because it was required.
    Councilman Mike Yaklich said he felt the city should not be involved in the expansion of gambling locally, and that it detracts from the image the community is trying to project. “My feeling is that it is not the role of government to make vices more available,” said Yaklich. Councilman Bob Kuntz said the city will receive additional licensing revenue from the  terminals permitted in existing taverns without creating a new license category. Councilman Duane Gillespie countered that gambling is a personal choice and people will do it out of town at the casinos if they don’t do it here. Councilman Kuntz said “It may be upscale but there are enough low income people in Kewanee that we don’t need to encourage them to spend money they don’t have.” Councilman Andy Koehler said “They say there used to be 50 churches and 50 bars in Kewanee and I image there are fewer of each today, but there should still be enough taverns with up to five video terminals without adding a new classification.”
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