In Texas Hold 'Em, you can go "all in," if you want to wager your pot on the hand you're showing.
In the case of video gaming, a city or village can go "all in," too, but Geneva City Council members said at a recent Committee of the Whole meeting, they'd prefer to be "all out."
Actually, the words that nine of our 10 aldermen used were "opt out."
Presently, at least one Geneva business is seeking a state of Illinois license for video gaming: at 30 W. State St.
But the Catch 22 for the city is that it has no enacting ordinance in place.
"We have no procedure accommodating that," Geneva City Administrator Mary McKittrick said at the July 30 meeting. "Tonight, we’re looking to the council to answer the question of whether the city wants to opt out, or whether you want to enact regulations that would be tied primarily to our liquor licensing."
Faced with the option of allowing video gaming or amending its code, all Geneva aldermen except Sam Hill said they'd prefer to opt out. Hill simply indicated he wanted more information before making a final decision.
There are potential profits for a business that takes on video gambling machines—as much as $1,000 per week by some estimates—but the city's portion of tax revenue likely wouldn't be high, based on the percentage of tax and number of licenses it could allow.
Geneva developer and businessman Joe Stanton, who was in the audience July 30, said the city's take would be in the vicinity of 5 percent. Stanton said he had no stake in the game or strong opinion about what action the city should take, but he said the math was pretty easy to figure.
"It could be a bonanza for the restaurants," he said. "(But) it’s not a windfall that’s going to fix any streets."
According to state regulations, a business has to have a gaming license as well as a liquor license to be eligible for video gambling machines. If the city were to "opt in," it would attach stipulations to the liquor licenses, including fines for violation and hours of operation.
Some aldermen were opposed to the notion of an "opt in" for ethical reasons.
"In the end, what we’e talking about is profiting from a behavior that’s been prohibited," 5th Ward Alderman Craig Maladra said. "It bothers me that we would relax our standards ... For me, personally, the answer is no."