Franklin Park sees few firms willing to bet on video gambling
Video gambling is legal in Franklin Park, but so far only two establishments have applied to open in the village. | File photo
Updated: March 8, 2013 6:35AM
FRANKLIN PARK — Video gambling is slow in coming to Franklin Park.
Six months after the village trustees approved video gambling machines, only two businesses have applied to open in the village.
Laredo Hospitality of Des Plaines has applied to open Stella’s, which would offer video gambling, light food and drinks.
Laredo Hospitality was incorporated in June 2012, according to the Secretary of State website. In Franklin Park it applied for a liquor license and made a presentation to village trustees last fall.
Dotty’s Country Café has applied to the village for a liquor license. It would like to move into 10215 W. Grand Avenue. The company has 150 locations, mostly on the west coast. It was started in South Dakota 20 years ago.
The Franklin Park location is part of an expansion effort, which will include new locations in Melrose Park, Elk Grove Village and Hoffman Estates, said company owner Daniel Fischer.
“I would have thought there would have been applications by existing businesses by now,” said John Schneider, Franklin Park’s economic development director. “I think everyone’s out there and kind of looking at this.”
Three local businesses originally contacted the village government last spring, asking it to reconsider its prohibition on video gambling. Those were Mike O’Donnels, Underpass Lounge and the now-defunct DJ Nightspot.
David Guerrin, owner of the Underpass Lounge, has applied with the Illinois Gaming Board for a license.
“Its kind of a waiting game,” Guerrin said. “A lot of people have applied at one time.”
Indeed. As of Jan. 28, the list of applicants on the Illinois Gaming Board website is 213 pages long.
“I don’t think it’s the save-all of the restaurant business,” Guerrin said. “I think its an added attraction like the dart game in the corner. It saves them a trip to the riverboat casino.”
Video gambling has the potential to be lucrative for some. The state gets 25 percent of revenue, the municipality 5 percent and a tracking company .7275 percent. The machine owner and the establishment split the rest.
The village of Franklin Park, however, could gain sales tax revenue and increased property tax revenue with new video gambling businesses.
In December, Grand Avenue Entertainment in River Grove pulled in a net (after payouts) total of $5,656 according to the Illinois Gaming Board website.
Also in December, Bellwood Memorial Post 5081 gained a net of $4,550.