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Video Gaming Nets Morton Grove $5,000 A Month

The village has seven licensed places people can play; mayor said he hasn't heard complaints.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

It has been a year and five months since The Bringer Inn in Morton Grove became one of the first sites in Illinois to get video gaming in September 2012. 

In that time, Morton Grove Mayor Dan DiMaria said the village's net portion of the proceeds from this form of gambling are running about $5,000 a month. He said he didn't know the gross revenues the video gaming machines produce.

"It has fluctuated a bit (month to month), but once word caught on, it picked up," he said.

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Asked to rate how well video gaming is working out for the village, DiMaria said, "I think it's working out as expected. It's low-key--I haven't heard any complaints. The people against them don't have to play them, and they don't."

As someone who works in financial investments, DiMaria said, video gaming has a good risk-reward ratio for the village.

"It's low-risk, high reward," he said, explaining it gives the village a nice return without causing problems or incurring costs, such as a need for police intervention.

Morton Grove has seven sites which are licensed for this form of gambling, which is regulated both by the state and by Morton Grove. They include The Bringer Inn on Lincoln Avenue, Tommy's on Waukegan Road, the Classic Bowl (bowling) Lounge on Waukegan Road, the Moose Lodge on Chestnut Street across from the train station, the American Legion Hall on Dempster, a Betty's Bistro location on Dempster at Harlem and a Betty's Bistro location on Golf Road near Washington.

Each location is required to have a liquor license in order to host video gaming, and the village polices the machines by controlling the liquor licenses. A location may have up to five video gaming terminals. In addition to state regulations, Morton Grove places its own, stricter, regulations on them too, said Peter Falcone, assistant village manager. For example, the village requires more cameras in gaming areas that the state requires.

"We have not seen additional costs (to the village)," Falcone said, explaining the village requires gaming locations, such as bars, to pay an annual $250 fee per machine. Part of that money paid for software that allows police officers to observe what's happening on the gaming terminals, as portrayed by the cameras, in real time on the Internet. They can even watch on their smartphones, Falcone said.

The village of Niles has a task force weighing the issue of video gaming. It heard testimony from experts and the public last week, and is expected to vote soon, according to its chairman, James Callero. The task force will then make a recommendation to Niles Mayor Andrew Przybylo on whether to overturn Niles' ban on video gaming.

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antigambler January 14, 2014 at 11:16 AM
Over $1 Million per year is draining out of sales at OTHER Morton Grove businesses and getting dumped into slot machines. Sure, it's good for the village. The Village is the House. The House always wins.
sherwin dubren January 16, 2014 at 02:23 AM
That 5,000 dollars is only Morton Grove's share of what is a much larger sum. This money could be diverted to shopping at village businesses. If the mayor thinks this amount is justification for encouraging gambling in Morton Grove, he is way off track. He should be setting a good example for youngsters in the village and not showing them how greedy he is.

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