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Local News

Joliet council votes on partial moratorium for video gambling

The Joliet City Council votes Tuesday on a partial moratorium on new video gambling machines.
The Joliet City Council votes Tuesday on a partial moratorium on new video gambling machines.

Joliet for the second time in two years is taking action to try to control the growth of video gambling in the city.

The Joliet City Council votes Tuesday on a one-year, partial moratorium on new video gambling licenses for liquor establishments east of Route 59.

Joliet now has 341 video gambling machines at 78 locations, not including the city's two casinos.

In 2017, the city created a video gambling license, charging new fees for businesses that install the machines.

The city continues to hear from businesses that want video gaming licenses, said Interim City Attorney Chris Regis.

"They come in on a regular basis," Regis said. "We've been trying to discourage them. But we thought it best to make it official."

The city could just cap the number of video gambling licenses allowed in Joliet and will look at doing that at the end of the one-year moratorium, Regis said.

The moratorium "will give us a year to look at this and make decisions going forward," he said.

Even with the moratorium in place, the number of video gaming machines is likely to grow.

The moratorium would only apply east of Route 59.

The proposal excludes the area on the other side of Route 59 so as not to stymie potential commercial development in the far west section of the city, where Joliet has been trying to encourage more retail business.

The moratorium also does not apply to truck stops or other gas stations that qualify under state law based on the volume of fuel sales.

Several truck stops are in various stages of development, including the Love's Travel Stop planned for the Interstate 80 interchange at Briggs Street.

Five of the locations that have video gambling in Joliet are truck stops. They have 25 of the terminals.

The city has 73 bars and restaurants with 316 video gambling machines.

The moratorium will not affect businesses that now have video gambling licenses.

In June 2017, the city created a new video gambling license, charging $250 for the license and another $250 for each video gambling machine.

At the time, city officials commented on the numbers of applicants looking to open cafe-style gambling parlors.

State law allows video gambling for businesses with liquor licenses and for gas stations, primarily truck stops, that sell large amounts of fuel.

Municipalities also have authority to regulate video gambling. Some cities and villages do not permit it at all.

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