Video poker players will be not be risking their money in La Grange establishments anytime soon, with Village President Tom Livingston declaring Monday the reconsideration of legalized gaming was dead.
“There was some interest in the community in asking the question,” Livingston said. “But the matter, at least for the foreseeable future, is resolved.”
When Illinois passed legislation in 2009 legalizing video gaming, it gave municipalities the option of prohibiting gaming.
La Grange’s Village Board decided then that it wasn’t in the best interests of the village, but there was renewed interest in gaming in the last two years.
There was a draft ordinance created in the event that the village wanted to legalized video gaming, but because it wasn’t legalized in the first place, no vote was needed to keep the prohibition in place.
The issue has been discussed at recent board meetings and at the most recent meeting of the Community and Economic Development Commission.
While there has been some support from local businesses, residents did not warm to the idea.
“There wasn’t much support at all,” Livingston said.
But Livingston noted that recent events in Illinois, including the expansion of gambling included in the state’s capital plan and the possibility of raising taxes and village operating expenses, mandated that the village should at least take a second look.
“We’re always evaluating things,” Livingston said. “We’re glad we asked the question.
Village Board members were satisfied to put the issue in the rearview mirror.
“We listened to community feedback,” Beth Augustine said. “I’m glad we’re getting past the issue. It’s the right decision for La Grange.”
Augustine noted that she had only had one resident express their support.
Lou Gale agreed with Augustine about the community’s sentiment.
“I did not sense any support in the community for it,” he said.
The decision drew support from audience members.
“It reflect the will of the community,” Justin Hanson said. “But now it’s the resident’s responsibility to support our local businesses.”
Former village presidents Tim Hansen and Liz Asperger both said they agreed with the decision.