Village of Morton board considers ordinance to allow video gaming

By Marshanna Hester

September 3, 2013 Updated Sep 4, 2013 at 9:51 AM CDT

MORTON, Ill. -- Taking turns at the podium, those for and against a plan to bring video gaming to Morton spoke loud and clear to the village board.

The machines were allowed for amusement only before the board voted in 2009 to ban them.

Now that they are legal in the state of Illinois, taverns like Schooners want them back.

"We've lost customers because they can go to other bars in East Peoria, Pekin and Tremont and have a few drinks, dinner and play the machines," said Marie Arendell, owner of Schooners in Morton.

Arendell said empty seats add up to a loss of thousands of dollars.

She said other business are suffering too. Some of them are moving or closing their doors but Arendell wants to stay in her place of 28 years.

"It's not like we're asking the city for money. All we're asking them to do is say yes," she said. "They're going to get money, we're going to get money. We all come out ahead."

Village President Ronald Rainson said there are some revenue benefits, but wants to examine what is best for the community and image of Morton.

"I think one of the most telling things is that very recently Family Circle magazine selected us as one of the 10 best cities in America to raise a family," Rainson said. "Some people feel this is probably not the first ordinance you want passed after you've had that honor."

The trustees will have the final say, but Rainson will cast the deciding vote if there is tie.

He said he does not expect the board to vote on the issue until October.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.