Article: Residents show support for ban on video gambling

• Originally published in the Kane County Chronicle on Sept. 24, 2009

GENEVA – The debate about allowing video gambling in the unincorporated parts of Kane County continued Wednesday night at a public hearing held by the Kane County Video Gaming Task Force in the county board room in Geneva.

About 50 people attended the second public hearing in as many days to weigh in on video gambling, which Gov. Pat Quinn legalized earlier this year to help pay for a $31 billion statewide construction program. The legislation, however, allows counties and individual municipalities the choice of whether to allow video poker.

Among those for the proposed ban was Bill Grabarek, a village trustee in Elburn, which on Sept. 7 became the first community in Kane County to approve an ordinance that would prohibit taverns, restaurants and other establishments from installing video poker and other video gambling devices.

“It’s a losing proposition,” said Grabarek, echoing many of the arguments he made in front of the Elburn Village Board against video gambling.

Grabarek has said he believes the ban is needed because of uncertainties that still surround how the state will regulate such video gambling. As of yet, the state has not come up with any regulations.

On the other side of the issue was Miguel Terrazas, the owner of Rudy’s Place, a bar and grill in Aurora. He was there for the second day in a row, making notes of people’s comments on video gambling. Almost all of the people who spoke before him supported the proposed ban, voicing concerns about a range of issues from the morality of video gambling to a possible rise in crime.

Terrazas, however, maintained that he needed video gambling in his business.

“We are working people just like they are,” Terrazas said, referencing those who spoke before him. “Our businesses are suffering. We need the extra help.”

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