Fox River Grove Approves Slot Machines

With slot machine salesmen and liquor licensees urging the Fox River Grove Village Board to legalize what proponents like to call “video poker,” the Board complied on a 6-0 vote.

Frank Gumma, owner, Ideal Gaming, Inc., East Dundee, made the main pitch for slot machines in Fox River Grove.

Frank Gumma, owner, Ideal Gaming, Inc., East Dundee, made the successful pitch.

He characterized the proposal as “casual type gambling.”

What kind of gambling?

“Blackjack, poker and line games like slot machines,” Gumma replied.

He touted the regulation of the Illinois Gaming Board as “the most difficult gaming board in the whole country.”

He said Fox River Grove should approve video gambling in order to attract new restaurants, which would come to town because neighboring towns, such as Cary and Barrington, have not done so.  $30-35,000 more in income his competitor slot machine supplier Chris estimated.

“The nearest is Port Barrington,” he observed.

Gumma pointed out that Illinois was the seventh state “to go legal.”

One Trustee asked a prescient question, considering that coin-operated machines overseen by the Syndicate were run out of Fox River Grove for decades:

“How are we going to be sure there won’t be any criminal element involved in this?”

“They (the State Gaming Board) have done their due diligence and then some,” competitor Chris Hersh (sp?), sitting in the front row next to bar owners, added.

Michael Schiestel

Trustee Michael Schiestel asked if the salesman had an studies on negative social impact.

Commenting on the possibility, Gumma replied, “I’d like to think not.”

Suzanne Blohm

No one was in the audience to provide a rebuttal to any of the proponents’ arguments.

One of Schiestel’s seatmates, Suzanne Blohm asked if “we can opt out at a future time.”

Michael Ireland

Trustee Michael Ireland pointed out that it was an “annual permitted use.”

Village Attorney John Donahue did not contradict Ireland.

When asked their opinions, the tavern and restaurant owners were uniformly in favor of approval of the extra stream of revenue.

“We’re just bringing in another vendor,” one said.

Steve Knar

After the salesman observed that the average person will take home 92% of what he or she bet, Steve Knar pointed out that “the average person will end up losing a lot more” compared to an experienced player.

“Don’t misrepresent it to them or to us.”

“I don’t see this being any kind of problem,” the owner of Deadman’s Pub said.

He told of people coming in when his bar was empty, ordering a beer and leaving.

“This will entertain him for a couple of minutes.  He’ll play it casually. ”

“We need to help our businesses,” Knar said observing that people would go to Cary or Barrington, if they said, “Yes,” and we said, “No.”

Schiestel followed the line of argument that “if money is spent on a machine, it won’t be spent somewhere else” like “groceries.”

Gerald Menzel

“I think it would help our businesses attract more people,” Jerry Menzel countered.

Schiestel asked the median income of slot machine players.

Chris said he didn’t have that information.

Menzel asked if the house didn’t “always win.”

“Of course,”Gumma replied forthrightly.

Menzel wondered if the proposal wasn’t “a recreational sport.”

“Yes,” Gumma said.

He then told of a trip he took to West Virginia to check out how the industry operates there.

Talking to two men watching sports at the bar, he learned that both of their wives were at the machines elsewhere in the establishment.

Robert Nunamaker

Village President Robert Nunmaker then entered the conversation.

“It’s not about the money,” he said, referring to the Village’s 5% cut of the money gambled.

Joanna Colletti

“It’s an issue of supporting our businesses and doing what’s right for our residents.”

“I don’t think we’re in the business to dictate or allow how our residents enjoy themselves,” Knar added.

“I’m not particularly fond of social engineering,” Menzel agreed.

Although I didn’t get her words, Trustee Joanna Colletti expressed a similar opinion.

With the Mayor not voting, the proposal to bring back legalized open gambling in Fox River Grove passed 6-0.


Fox River Grove Approves Slot Machines — 6 Comments

  1. This is a very disturbing development.

    Where was the local Republican Party, whose party platform is clearly opposed to the expansion of gambling?

    Where were the social conservatives & TEA party types?

    Don’t let tough economic times bring bad policy into your community.

  2. Who are they trying to kid…. it’s always “about the money.”

  3. I’d think Republicans would be all for allowing people to engage in whatever kind of recreation they choose.

    Who needs a nanny state telling you what you can’t do, right?

    And city and state revenues brought in through gambling will be less that needs to be collected through income taxes, right?

    And we KNOW the Republicans are VERY MUCH against taxes.

  4. The issue is not what someone can or can’t do.

    The issue is WHERE they can do it, just as one cannot drink in the car nor smoke in a public building.

    Convenience gambling is not casual.

    It is the most addictive form because of its accessibility.

    Government officials in states with convenience gambling have verified that it discourages new businesses from coming in.

    On July 19th, Gaming Board Chairman Jaffe said that there is NO WAY that their staff can regulate the entire state.

    This will support LIQUOR-POURING businesses at the expense of non-liquor-pouring businesses and local residents.

    If a local resident is going out for a pizza or a beer, they will not go to a different town to see if a gambling machine is available there, unless they are an addicted gambler.

    A local resident who goes out to gamble, goes to a casino.

  5. I guess I’m confused by that objection- bars are the perfect place to put a slot machine- no kids allowed and an easily yanked license if the proprietor doesn’t police his premises.

    I got no problems with a machine in my local tap but not crazy about the idea of one at McD’s or the corner laundromat.

  6. Joe, many family restaurants serve liquor.

    One of the first Illinois licenses went to a Rosati’s pizza parlor.

    Starbucks is even starting to serve liquor.

    In South Carolina, bakeries and ice cream parlors were getting liquor licenses so that they could get slot machines.

    It’s not like there are no slot machines within driving distance of anyone in the Chicago area.

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