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Elburn May Drop Gambling Machine Ban In Search Of Revenue

It seemed like a good idea at the time. When Illinois legalized video gambling machines, the en vogue thing to do was for local municipalities to ban the activity. The areas only had a set period where they could opt out of the video gambling law. Elburn was one of those places that did so.

Now, a couple of years later, and with the industry becoming big business in some areas of the state, Elburn officials are reconsidering. Trustee Jeff Walter may be the one who has had a change of heart, as he started the discussion this week to overturn the ban.

Walter was one of the trustees that voted for the ban, but there are only two of those trustees remaining in office. Business owners have been pushing for reconsideration as neighboring areas start to open their video gambling operations and take customers out of Elburn.

"They have got it, and we don't," said Walter. "Are we losing potential tax dollars and customers?"

It appears as though it may be a slam dunk to end the ban. Another trustee that originally voted for the ban, William Grabarek, has gone on record saying, he too would overturn the ban.

"I don't want to do anything to injure our business community if I can help it," said Grabarek. "Given the slow slog back to some sort of new normal, so we stop seeing the emptying of the storefronts in this town, I would consider it."

The period to opt out of the video gambling law back in 2009 was only a short time, and Elburn was one of the towns that decided to play it safe and opt out. Now, along with several other towns, Elburn is seeing the positive aspect of the machines in local businesses.

While the video gambling is popular, Illinois lawmakers have passed a bill that would bring full-fledged casinos to Illinois. Governor Pat Quinn has remained steadfast in his opposition to a broad expansion of gambling in the state.

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