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City Council Sets Stricter Rules for Video Gambling

The Oak Forest City Council approved an entirely rewritten Video Gaming Terminal ordinance on Tuesday, Oct. 23. The revised ordinance sets new fees and rules for the terminals, where they can be played, and by whom.

The rules for owning and operating coin-operated gaming devices and machines at local Oak Forest establishments got a major facelift at the Oak Forest City Council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 23. During the meeting City Clerk Scott Burkhardt outlined what changes the city made to the revamped ordinance.

Under the newly revamped ordinance, video gaming terminals, such as games that feature video poker, line-up games, or Black Jack, will be limited to five per establishment. That number does not include games that dispense coins, free games, cash or tokens for amusement purposes only.

Establishment owners will also be charged a $500 licensing fee, per video gaming terminal—and will have to follow strict guidelines on where the games can be placed. Juke boxes and dart boards come with a $100 licensing fee.

Only people 21 and over can use the machines, and they must be in a restricted area, within view of an establishment's employee who is 21 years old or older.

“We felt it all necessary, and I sort of wanted to rewrite the ordinance, to incorporate those specific machines into our ordinance,” Burkhardt said. “In the hopes of providing enforcement provisions to define what they are, what they're not and so on and so forth.”

Burkhardt told the board that the entire ordinance was rewritten specifically with video gaming terminals in mind, and that the wording for coin-operated gaming devices remained mainly the same.

In the new ordinance, the difference between coin-operated gaming devices and video gaming terminals is clearly defined, Burkhardt said. He added that he took verbiage from the Video Gaming Terminal Act and used it verbatim to define the difference between the two systems.

“That language was incorporated, so that was the first thing that I did,” he said. “The other thing that I felt was important to delineate the number of machines that are in an establishment.

“I wanted to very carefully delineate, I thought it was important and I hope you would also agree, of those who could use these machines,” Burkhardt said.

The new ordinance was approved by a 6-1 vote, with Alderman Dan Ensing voting no on the matter.

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