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Local News

St. Charles residents divided over video gaming

ST. CHARLES – Several residents and business owners Monday night spoke for and against offering video gaming in St. Charles.

St. Charles aldermen heard the varying opinions for about an hour during its Government Operations Committee meeting. Aldermen late Monday shared their opinions on the issue after press deadline.

At the request of a few business owners and the Loyal Order of the Moose, the city of St. Charles put together a presentation about video gaming and the impact it could have in St. Charles.

St. Charles Police Chief James Keegan said he researched and went to various video gaming cafes in places, such as South Elgin and did not hear of any incidents of crime with the machines.

Based on the state average, the income St. Charles could receive from having video gaming might range between $173,900 and $696,600 a year, said Chris Minnick, the city’s director of finance.

Opponents of video gaming said the revenues generated from the gaming machines comes from millions of dollars worth of losses on the customers playing the machines.

St. Charles residents Mike and Betsy Penny could not attend the meeting, but wrote in a letter read aloud Monday video gaming makes money on people losing money, the couple wrote.

The Pennys wrote in the letter the city should issue a referendum advisory question or conduct a survey to see if the community as a whole would favor video gaming.

Bob Karas, owner of Rookie’s Pub in St. Charles, said video gaming has not negatively affected other businesses outside St. Charles where he is a partner. He would like to offer video gaming at his St. Charles business to help his business financially.

“I’m sure every restaurateur in this town … [sees] this as a big help to keep our doors open,” Karas said.

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