Gaming Board Rejects Video Gambling At Hometown Strip Mall

CHICAGO (CBS) — The mayor of a small southwestern suburb is unhappy with a decision by the Illinois Gaming Board to reject the suburb’s proposal for a video gambling mall.

Hometown Mayor Kevin Casey said the plan was to put nine separately-owned video gambling cafés or parlors in a little-used mall at 87th and Southwest Highway.

The Illinois Gaming Board turned down that proposal, saying it seemed too much like a casino, but without the regulation that goes along with it.

Casey said the difference between his gaming mall idea and video gambling that goes on at various businesses along 95th Street in Oak Lawn, for instance, is that those establishments are in separate buildings, whereas the ones in Hometown would have been under one roof.

“They rejected mine … because it’s under one roof. I can’t put strip malls every 10 feet down any of my highways. I’m landlocked by houses,” Casey said. “I don’t think the Gaming Board really understands the situation that hometown is. We are less than a square mile. We’re landlocked between Evergreen Park, Oak Lawn, and Chicago.”

The mayor said, for him, it was all about generating 40 to 60 more jobs for his one-square mile city.

“I just feel sorry for the people that thought they might be able to be employed; be able to walk to work,” he said.

He said the developer was required to upgrade the mall to code, including a sprinkler system, to make way for the proposed gambling establishments. Now he hopes the developer can find stores to fill the vacant spots.

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