Westmont seeks public input on video-gaming code at Aug. 12 meeting
Potential code changes related to video gaming are among agenda items facing the Village of Westmont’s Planning and Zoning Commission, which has scheduled an open meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 12, at the Village Hall, 31 W. Quincy Street, on the second floor.
The meeting is open to the public.
“The goal of the … hearing pertaining to video gaming is to discuss the topic of proximity of establishments that have video gaming and specifically solicit feedback from the public and obtain input from the commission,” Westmont Community Development Director Jill Ziegler told the DuPage Policy Journal on Monday.
“Video gaming is a relatively new topic in the State of Illinois, and we feel it is important to obtain public perspective,” Ziegler said.
While Ziegler said the topic is being introduced to the public during the Aug. 12 meeting, it has been on the radar of village officials for the last few months.
For instance, in June, the Westmont Village Board decided to take up the proximity issue after concern surfaced about the number of video-gaming terminals that could exist at any one location.
Westmont’s Code of Ordinances said such terminals are defined as electronic machines that people may access using cash, tokens or other payment that enable them to play or “simulate the play of video gaming,” such as video poker, line-up and blackjack, all of which are authorized by the Illinois Gaming Board.
Specifically, the Code of Ordinances currently does not impose a restriction on the total number of video-gaming licenses issued to someone, only that an owner of a video-gaming terminal must pay a $25 annual license fee to the municipality and that the licenses must “be prominently displayed next to the video-gaming terminal,” Chapter 10, Division 9, of the code said.
Additionally, the total number of video-gaming licenses may be increased or decreased “from time to time” at the discretion of the board, specifically if a village clerk makes a certain recommendation regarding a pending license application, for example, or if a licensee fails to renew the license or the license has been revoked.
However, this definition “does not include a machine that directly dispenses coins, cash or tokens, or is for amusement purposes only,” the code said.
Most recently, the Village of Westmont held a meeting last week with community liquor-license hollders to discuss issues regarding the proximity of video-gaming establishments with each other.
“This item is likely to go back to the Planning and Zoning Commission on Sept. 9 so that we can review this input,” Ziegler said. “If it is deemed appropriate, then the commission may make a recommendation to the Village Board for consideration.
“This item would potentially go before the Village Board some time after that,” Ziegler said. “There is no sense of urgency regarding this topic."
To read the existing video-gaming section in the village’s Code of Ordinances, go online to: https://www.municode.com/library/il/westmont/codes/code_of_ordinances.