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Homewood Permits Video Gambling

The controversial ordinance amendment passed unanimously during the Aug. 14 Homewood Village Board meeting.

Ready or not, here it comes.

The ordinance prohibiting state approved video gaming within the was unanimously amended Tuesday night.

Now, establishments with an on-premise consumption liquor license will be allowed to install video gambling machines. All machines are regulated to accept nothing higher than a $2 bet and to pay out no more than $500. Rather than dispensing money, the machines print out vouchers that can only be redeemed by special ATM-like machines.

Not all in attendance were supportive of the change, though.

Lucy Kokal spoke on behalf of St. Andrews United Methodist Church in opposition of the ordinance amendment. Underage gambling and gambling addiction were Kokal’s chief concerns. During the meeting, she quoted a newspaper article highlighting the alleged strife video gambling has brought the state of South Carolina. She also cited various gambling addiction statistics to illustrate the potential dangers of the activity.

“We are making very, very available, an addictive behavior to our people, our community,” Kokal said. “It takes a lot of loses by our residents in order for Homewood to (make money off the gambling).”

5th Quarter Tap owner Steve Nemitz feels differently than Kokal. He was in attendance during the meeting in support of the ordinance amendment.

“You can go within four blocks and buy a $30 lottery ticket," Nemitz said. "It’s about entertainment, and entertainment brings in customers. This isn’t profitability, this is survival.”

Tin Ceiling Tavern owner of 17 years Mike Burns was also present. He says the bar business is tougher now than ever. While neither Nemitz nor Burns think gambling is a cure-all, they’re both hoping the additional income might provide some relief.

“We need every little bit of help we can get,” Mike Burns said.

According to Nemitz, the opportunity to run video gambling machines is a rare example of state supporting his business.

“This is the first time that the government and the state of Illinois has looked at the restaurant/bar industry and said, ‘We’re going to help you,’” Nemitz said. “This is the first time we’re getting a piece of the pie.”

To Trustee Barbara Dawkins, the issue is about business.

“We want to do what we can to support businesses,” Trustee Barbara Dawkins said. “I really don’t think that providing slot (sic) machines to these businesses will result in the apocalypse.”

Protecting Homewood’s family-friendly environment was on Trustee Anne Colton’s mind as she was considering the vote.  

“I personally don’t have a problem with bringing gambling into a community providing it’s adults doing it,” Colton said. “I think adults need to be allowed to make the decisions that adults make."

Mustang August 17, 2012 at 04:54 PM
In a recent national ranking of high schools by, I believe, Newsweek magazine HF High School was ranked somewhere around 600 out of 20,000 schools nationally, top 3%, not bad. Also...I know Calumet City, I grew up in Calumet City...Homewood, your no Calumet City!
Juan Macillery August 17, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Goodbye lily white Homewood, it was nice knowing you. And I wouldn't trade any part living there, as it was a beautiful piece of lily white apple pie americana. But you must now accept that your lily white days are behind you, as you have now officially become a racially diverse neighborhood. The community has lost its whiteness over the past 20 years, you sold your soul for diversity...and paid the price when the long time original "Homewood" white families moved away. My mother has tried to hold on and stay in the home we grew up in, but honestly, the community is not that white anymore, and she too is moving. What happened, what of all the parks and family friendly organizations, the lively downtown? You have fimally joined your surrounding communities in becoming the least white, and there you are. A mere shell, an outline of what you once were. Goodbye Homewood...thanks for the memories that I will always treasure. We'll miss you... this is an actual tranlation for the first post...
Jason Hitchens August 17, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Get a grip Anthony. Was video gambling the last straw for your mother. I doubt it. There is so much available to everyone, especially seniors at the park district. I am not interested in gambling, but will continue to eat and support the Fifth Quarter. Take your anger somewhere else. Go back to your utopia and read your local patch and not ours!
Kathy Duignan August 18, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Carolyn.....kinda hypocritical don't you think? Lottery is gambling. Why not give the money to those establishments in your own community. Support your local businesses. 5% of revenue from these machines can be used by the village for any purpose. It is legal and licensed by the state.
T'sMom August 21, 2012 at 10:24 PM
I wish I lived near Karen K. McHugh or Jennifer, they seem to be good neighbors, not like the neighbors in my section of Homewood. Homewood is going down with or without gambling plus no one is concerned about it changing in my area except me. There are more Section 8 rentals on my block then ever with inconsiderate renters having parties all the time with people leaving late at night making noise, along with other disturbances. Plus has anyone else noticed in Homewood there is this constant smell of burning yard waste & wood all the time, every day of the year, day or night, whether temperature is in the 90's or 70 out, it's as if I live near a dump, all the time this constant smell I can't believe Homewood allows this in the community with the high taxes we pay to live here. I can't believe that I have no right to clean air to breathe. It's a residential area not a campsite. We thought with the nice cooler weather we would be able to save some on our electric bills, to open our windows but we are forced to close them all the time due to people burning. I am starting to have breathing issues and now have to use an inhaler due to this burning, Homewood needs to address this issue, as people who don't burn should have rights, too.

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