Morton bar owners upset with village board vote

By Denise Jackson

October 9, 2013 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 9:55 AM CDT

MORTON, Ill. -- Morton's decision this week to ban video gaming could have some repercussions on the village. Some bar and tavern owners are talking about relocating to other neighboring cities.

Morton Village President Ron Rainson cast the deciding no vote on Monday which broke a 3-to-3 tie, rejecting video gaming.

"He told us he was for the machines, there would be no problem getting the gaming machines in before he was elected in as mayor. We were just totally shocked that he went against us. He just flat out lied to us," Schooners owner Marie Arendell said.

Video gaming machines were allowed inside Morton bars only for amusement up until 2009 when the village board banned them.

Arendell said based on the fact she never had problems with them previously she thought getting support a second time around would be easy. Rainson said it was a tough decision.

"I felt terrible, I didn't win anything. This is no big victory. Myself and the trustees all felt terrible because it disenfranchises some of our citizens. But you have to look at the overall culture of the city, our culture is to be family friendly," Rainson said.

Another bar owner angry about the village vote declined an on camera interview but he said after 10 years in Morton he plans to relocate to the Twin Cities.

Bill Ingold said a for sale sign has been posted in front of Red Rock Bar and grill for a couple of weeks. He said with no video gaming allowed it is hard to compete on a level playing field with bars that have them.

Back at Schooners Marie Arendell said after 28 years she is staying put. Arendell said despite the board's vote the issue isn't over.

"I just wish he'd been honest with us. We're grown ups you don't have to lie to us. We can handle the truth," she said.

Arendell worries about losing customers but said many patrons have promised to support the business.

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