Mount Prospect is about to raise its stake in video gambling.

The village board on Tuesday reacted favorably to a proposed ordinance that would raise the cap on machines allowed in licensed establishments from five to six, mimicking a state law approved earlier his year.

Village trustees also indicated they are receptive to allowing signs advertising video gambling at restaurants, bars and other businesses that have machines, provided they are tasteful.

“I would hate to have the downtown look like the strip in Vegas,” Trustee Michael Zadel said.

However, board members shot down a suggestion the village lift its ban on establishments known as video gaming cafes that provide a limited menu to go along with gambling terminals.

The gambling discussion came after Doreen Jarosz, executive assistant to the village manager, detailed a report indicating that video gambling is not bringing new customers to bar and restaurants, but it provides entertainment to existing customers who then stay longer and potentially spend more.

Trustee William Grossi raised the possibility of allowing gambling cafes, but the suggestion met opposition from other board members, including Village President Arlene Juracek.

“There is a potential the cafe will cannibalize customers from the existing businesses,” Juracek said.
D.J. Harrington, who operates the Red Barn Restaurant and Brewery, agreed, saying video gambling brings in added revenue for restaurants to offset the cost of operations. Cafes would siphon off that revenue, he believes.

Resident Jerry Boldt. however, said a video cafe in the center of Randhurst Village could draw more people to that area of the shopping center.

Currently, 10 Mount Prospect establishments have video gambling, with a combined 45 terminals. Together they’re earned more than $200,000 from the machines, according to the village, while the village has received nearly $86,000.