Ill. county votes to restrict video gambling

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WHEATON, Ill. — Officials in one of Illinois’ largest counties voted Tuesday to ban video gambling, which was legalized across the state last month to help pay for a massive public works program.

WHEATON, Ill. — Officials in one of Illinois’ largest counties voted Tuesday to ban video gambling, which was legalized across the state last month to help pay for a massive public works program. The DuPage County board unanimously decided to ban video gambling in unincorporated areas. The action has no effect on cities within the county, such as Naperville and Wheaton. The ban, effective immediately, affects about three dozens bars and clubs. Officials say the county will lose about $350,000 a year it would have gotten from its share of the gambling revenue. The Chicago suburb of Rosemont also has barred video gambling. Officials in Will and Peoria counties are discussing a ban. Critics consider video poker one of the most addictive forms of gambling. They fear that legalizing it in local taverns and restaurants will create a new pool of addicts gambling away their paychecks at their favorite bar. "I think it’s clear DuPage County’s quality of life is not for sale," said DuPage board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom, a Republican who is running for governor. "What we’re saying is (everyone) should ban video poker." Video gambling was legalized to help pay for a $31 billion public works program throughout Illinois. But local governments are still allowed to adopt their own restrictions. Gov. Pat Quinn said Tuesday that he doesn’t object to communities barring video gambling. He said gambling money covers only one-quarter of the $1.2 billion in annual financing costs for the construction plan. "I don’t believe that every county and municipality will choose that course, but people are free to do what they want to do," Quinn said at a news conference. "If some communities choose not to have it, it’s OK by me." ______ Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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