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Arlington Heights open to video gambling at racetrack
By Deborah Donovan | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 12/15/2009 9:47 AM

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If the racing industry succeeds in convincing the Illinois Legislature to allow video gaming machines at tracks and off-track betting parlors, Arlington Heights will probably approve them for Arlington Park.

The village board agreed in a committee meeting Monday that a proposed ordinance outlawing the machines in restaurants that sell liquor should be changed. The revised ordinance would say the board intends to permit video gaming at Arlington Park and Trackside OTB and restaurant if Illinois law ever allows it.

However, Arlington Park would need to come before the board for approval of a specific plan before video gambling would be allowed.

Kris Stabler, a racetrack vice president, said officials are "comfortable" with the board's decision.

"We don't know what this will look like," she said. "We're waiting to see what happens at the state."

Trustees said they want Arlington Park to remain competitive in light of the new casino opening in Des Plaines and the chance video gambling could be approved in nearby communities.

However, Trustee Thomas W. Hayes indicated his approval of video gambling at Arlington Park or Trackside would depend on the number of machines the law allows and the track requests.

He said he opposes "a significant expansion of gambling" and, if the track requested 1,200 gaming terminals, he would not see much difference between that and the slot machines he opposes.

Mayor Arlene Mulder said it is important to pass the ordinance to make it clear gambling machines will not be allowed in regular restaurants with liquor licenses.