Kathy Gilroy is against the
idea of Barrington allowing video gaming.
Bryan McGonigal is for it. He wants to see Barrington change its ordinance to allow his restaurant, McGonigal’s Pub, to install up to five terminals.
Gilroy and McGonigal were among the handful of people offering public comment on what is a hot button issue, video gaming. The Barrington’s Board of Trustees met Monday to hear comments.
McGonigal initiated a request to the village a few months ago. He argues it is a way for businesses to make more money in a tough economy and would help Barrington businesses stay competitive with neighboring towns, McGonigal said.
He has talked with customers and residents and found there’s a tremendous amount of support in favor of video gaming, he said. He also had a petition with signatures and forwarded letters of recommendation to the village.
“Let’s not miss out on this great opportunity,” McGonigal said.
Gilroy, of Villa Park, was the only person who spoke against the idea at the meeting.
The main argument from people is their customers will go somewhere else if they don’t get gambling, Gilroy said.
But what “convenience gaming does is seduce people who have never gambled before to try it while waiting for a meal,” she said.
“Is Barrington doomed? Vices are popular, but good laws are not established by opinion polls,” Gilroy said. “Pay attention to the unheard majority of residents not just the vocal minority of business owners.”
Another speaker, Rich Heidner, owns Gold Rush Amusements and is a terminal operator who has 488 machines in 110 locations. The company is based in Barrington.
“We have had no incidents at all, no kind of problems with gaming,” he said. “All the establishments we’ve been able to install a machine, it’s been a great asset to them.”
Heidner has lived in the Barrington area for years and has been in business for 35 years. He enjoys his work and he would not be doing it if he thought it was a terrible thing, he said.
Video gaming has been growing slowly but successfully, said Paul Jensen, an attorney whose firm represents vendors and restaurants with terminals.
As of August, there were 9,915 terminals operating in 2,231 live sites, Jensen said. Video gaming generated $25.5 million with $7.6 million going to the state, he said.
Barrington will continue to hear comments on video gaming at its Sept. 23 meeting.
One person chose not to speak Monday but wrote a comment that Darch read. “Live and let live,” she read.
Darch received five emails expressing opposition to the idea of video gaming in Barrington. She wants to hear more comments from residents, she said.
“It’s important to hear from the community,” she said.
Trustees are planning to vote on video gaming at an October meeting.