Final OK to video gambling ordinance could come Monday

URBANA — City council members this week could give final approval to a new ordinance on video gambling just two days before the first machines are expected to start lighting up.

The Urbana City Council will meet at 7 p.m. on Monday in the Urbana City Building, 400 S. Vine St.

The ordinance stems from weeks of debate about the issue. It would limit the number of businesses allowed to operate video-gambling machines to 12 and require that each pay a $200 fee per machine for up to five machines.

Those rules are in addition to state regulations, which also require licensing and fees.

The proposal got council support last week and the city council could give its final approval on Monday. Video-gambling machines around the state are expected to start running Wednesday, when a state law making them legal goes into effect.

The ordinance council members will vote on Monday has only one change from the draft they supported last week: The new version requires that businesses with the machines post a sign that describes “the symptoms of a problem gambler” and lists the phone number for the Gamblers Anonymous Hotline, 1-800-GAMBLER.

The city’s proposal evolved from a more restrictive ordinance that would have only made six licenses available and required a $1,000-per-machine fee and that each business with the machines close its doors to patrons under the age of 21.

Business owners opposed those rules during a city council meeting earlier this month, and city officials came back a couple weeks later with the current proposal, which allowed more licenses, lowered the fee and removed the under-21 prohibition for the entire business. Under the state law, the machines must be placed in an area of the establishment that is restricted to those 21 or older.

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randyandjoy1 wrote on June 03, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Oh, goody, even more kids get to go to bed hungry, wise move!