Video gambling vote, property tax levy public hearing
By Anthony Caciopo
Regional News Editor
Local residents will have the opportunity to cast their votes about the prospect of legalized video gambling as part of the Nov. 6 general election.
Video gambling in Palos Heights has been prohibited based on a 1994 ordinance.
Since then, the Illinois Video Gaming Act of 2009 has permitted “placement of up to five video gaming terminals (VGTs) in licensed retail establishments, truck stops, veteran and fraternal establishments.”
The first terminals didn’t begin operation until 2012, however. But as of Sept. 2018 there are approximately 6,600 establishments throughout the state with video gambling operations, according to the Illinois Gaming Board.
Today, as more and more communities have chosen to allow legalized video gaming, there are almost no communities in the immediate area that do not allow it. Only Palos Heights and Palos Park are without video gambling machines and, until last August, Orland Park.
Orland Park now allows legalized gaming, but under a highly restrictive ordinance that is almost certain to have legal challenges.
The move by the Orland Park Village Board to allow video gambling came after local residents voted twice earlier in the year (with differing language on each of the referendum that some voters complained was unnecessarily complex) to keep gaming out of the village.
The margins on both referenda were within approximately two percentage points. They were advisory-only in nature, meaning the results were non-binding. Months later, the Orland Park Village Board voted 4-3 to allow video gambling.
The referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot in Palos Heights will also be advisory in nature, non-binding.
As detailed in the July 19, 2018 edition of The Regional News, the topic of legalized gambling is often divisive and sometimes contentious. The Regional will publish another story before the Nov. 6 election detailing even more local opinion. Readers are invited to write or call us to express their thoughts.
Tax levy public hearing
Also on Nov. 6, but not related to the general elections, local residents will have the opportunity to speak at a public hearing about a proposed tax levy increase for the City of Palos Heights.
The levy is the City’s portion of homeowners’ property taxes.
The hearing will be held at 6:45 p.m. in City Hall, 7601 W. College Dr.
As stated at a recent City Council meeting, “any person desiring to appear at the public hearing and present testimony to the taxing district may contact the City Clerk at (708) 361-1800.”