Orland Park Village Board Approves Video Gaming Ordinance, 4-3

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ORLAND PARK, IL — The Orland Park Village Board overrode a “no” vote on dueling advisory referenda and approved a video gaming ordinance that would allow 20 Class A liquor license holders to add video gaming to their businesses. After some last minute imploring from residents opposed to video gaming to “listen to the people,” the mayor and trustees narrowly passed the video gaming ordinance by a vote of 4-3 during their meeting on Monday. The ordinance will be re-examined after a 12-month trial period to determine its overall success and compliance, and every year thereafter.

Orland Park voters said no to video gaming, answering two opposite referendum questions during the March primary election, one which asked voters if video gaming should be prohibited in the village. The second referendum question asked if video gaming should be allowed with restrictions. The vote was as divisive as the results, 51 percent not in favor to 49 percent who wanted in Orland Park. Some village board members claimed that their policy-making process got “politically hijacked.”

Many residents who commented before village board members voted on the ordinance, favored putting a binding referendum on the ballot in the upcoming November election. (SUBSCRIBE: Get Real-Time Alerts and a Daily Newsletter for Orland Park)

“We already voted as citizens. They gave you the answer. They said no,” Orland Park resident Noreen Williams said during the public comments. “Are the business’s concerns more important than the average Orland Park citizen, who voted all of you in? Why aren’t you listening to us. Let’s do this in November so all of the citizens can vote once and for all. We’ll also listen to the outcome of tonight’s vote and we will vote the next time people are running in the next election.”

The village held three town halls and several public hearings. Many residents opposed to allowing video gaming in the village warned of litigation and changing the character of Orland Park, likening video gaming to zebra mussels invading Lake Michigan. Pro-video gaming advocates, many of them bar and restaurant owners, argued that they can’t compete and were losing business to neighboring towns that allowed video gaming in their respective municipalities.

Tr. Michael Carroll said that the village board has crafted, when he believes, to be the “most restrictive gaming ordinance in the state of Illinois.” He reminded residents that they didn’t want Orland Park’s Sportsplex at first either. Legal experts have looked over the revised 10-page gaming ordinance and assured the village board that it would withstand a legal challenge. He reminded residents that they didn’t want the Sportsplex built at first either, but now is used by “tens of thousands of people.”

Orland Park board members passed the ordinance 4 to 3, with Carroll, Mayor Keith Pekau, Trustees Carole Griffin Ruzich and Kathleen Fenton voting yes. The nay votes were Trustees James Dodge Jr., Patricia Gira and Dan Calandriello.

Watch the entire hearing and vote unfold in the Village of Orland Park’s Facebook Live video. (Note: There were some connectivity issues so Patch has included the second part.)

~ Patch Photo by Lorraine Swanson

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August 7, 2018 at 04:14PM

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