Urbana endorses video-gambling ordinance; final vote Monday

Urbana endorses video-gambling ordinance; final vote Monday

URBANA — City council members next week could finalize their approval of an ordinance that would allow video gambling in bars and restaurants in Urbana under a new state law that goes into effect next month.

Council members will take up the vote at a special meeting on July 30 in an attempt to get their rules established before the Aug. 1 effective date.

The ordinance they supported on Monday night is more restrictive than the state law, but less restrictive than a proposal they offered earlier this month.

If approved in its current form, businesses that wish to offer video gambling to their customers will have to pay a $200 licensing fee per machine for up to five machines. They would not, however, need to limit their entry age to 21 years old, a key part of a proposal that a handful of business owners opposed two weeks ago.

The city ordinance would make 12 licenses available to Urbana businesses, up from the six-license limit in the initial proposal. Council members said they could review that limit at a later date if they felt the need to do so.

The city ordinance is on top of the state law, which also requires licensing, details where inside a business the video gambling machines may be located and how the machines must work. The American Legion is the only Urbana location that has been approved by the state so far as state officials work methodically through hundreds of applications.

In May, the Champaign City Council voted to allow video gambling as prescribed by state law with no additional city-imposed limits. Businesses in Champaign that want to offer video gambling still need to be licensed by the state.


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aantulov wrote on July 27, 2012 at 7:07 am

You would think people would be a little more suspect of front business out of Oregon getting exclusive long term contracts out of the lawmakers in Springfield.

These businesses targeted have access to this "easy money" are not the type to have access to market study. Once ensnared in these contracts they may go under. Have they calculated the number of their patrons that won't return on because the sound of the gadgets are annoying, much less a singular bad experience, not to mention a new found moral conviction once they see an acquaintance humbled financially from a loss they don't recover. As little as two hundred could be won, but these days as little as $50 could start a spiral of fees that could be a car or home endangered.

Its not a big mystery why more solvent owners of businesses are loud about participation. Its not just revenue. If the tiny bars, the vet bars and few locally owned food places go under its more business for those that can afford a franchise or have the capital to swoop in. How much to do these local/Vet bars cost business with their cheaper drinks and use of faculties?

And since we are talking net profits going to the state do they really think they won't be audited more? It costs small places to be audited, not to mention staff. I not so sure I believe bartenders report all tips.

It would have made more sense to use it as a tool of development in designated area. For instance a casino between St. Joe and Urbana (or for that matter a baseball field) would provide jobs without congestion and safe enclave of businesses to leave cars to shuttle into town.  Infact just a small development there with exclusive license might spawn more.

And just like the "Family Video" chain with the porn in back, they will do a poor job of protecting children. God knows what mischief a 10 year old can get into with a win of $200, buying a gun to deal with a bully? There are reasons this has been illegal. What's next ...prostitution?

So will this mean that fancy restarant  in Lincoln Square mall could put machines where the entire mall would be subject to listening and viewing?  Do parents really want to have to explain gambling to children  going to the toy store?  How does the grocery store that just invested a million in the place feel about that? What's the big rush to this to this again, a few late council meetings? Show some grit Urbana council members make the coffee and call some stake holders.

aantulov wrote on July 30, 2012 at 8:07 am

I'm glad my council is not so "business friendly" since in Champaign that means a plethora of business deals like that new hotel going in downtown that is not going to pay any taxes for 30 years.  That's right. And all those TIF districts that also don't pay into the schools,parks, and general fund for street lights and such.  They don't even have a job or type of job requirement, that's not friendly is theft!

I would like to see both city list prominently all TIF district and Tax abatement holders on their website and make them sign their establishments and gain the stigma reserved for people just trying to keep a roof over their heads.

If this gambling thing goes through in Urbana I would like a monthly posted update of locations, the amount they say they made and how much tax they paid, complaints and fines. Let's not collect tax of these places like the IRS approaches the bar tenders tips.

aantulov wrote on July 30, 2012 at 8:07 am

The Sunday front page looked like an ad for the new would be casino owners, I hope they bought enough ad space to justify it.