Will Sycamore join the video gaming roster?

Sep 4, 2012

Video gambling is on the agenda for the Sycamore City Council tonight, a week after DeKalb approved allowing machines in qualifying establishments.

Several bars and fraternal organizations have indicated their interest to City Manager Brian Gregory, while three restaurants and a winery have said they are not interested. Officials have estimated the city could realize almost $100,000 annually from the machines, although Mayor Ken Mundy believes that number is high.

The Daily Chronicle offers background on Sycamore’s situation and a look at DeKalb County businesses waiting for state approval to go ahead with video gambling.

Taverns in smaller towns like Cortland, Genoa, Hinckley, Kingston and Waterman are anxious for any business boost the video gaming might provide.

Jeff Risman, owner of J & K's Half Moon Tavern in Hinckley, told the Chronicle he wants two machines. "I've been in the business for 16 years," Risman said. "This is the toughest year I've seen."

The Illinois Gaming Board has to complete a background check on every applicant before approval can be granted. Houlihan's Tavern & Grill in Waterman already has been approved and is waiting for the state to install communications links for three terminals.

In 2009, lawmakers approved the installation of gaming terminals in bars, truck stops, and fraternal and veteran organizations that have a liquor license. However, they allowed local governments to restrict or opt out of the program all together, assuming video gaming isn't already banned in the municipality.

DeKalb's ordinance goes into effect Thursday and will expire Jan. 1, 2019, unless the council votes to extend it. Five establishments have applied for licenses there.