COLLINSVILLE — Collinsville will now join many other Illinois cities in seeking the public's vote on the issue of video gambling.
The council unanimously voted Monday to place an advisory referendum on the November ballot asking the public whether they would support legalized video gambling in the city.
"There are times when proposals come before the council that ... impact the community in a larger way," said interim city manager Scott Williams. "It was felt that the public had the right to speak."
The referendum will not be a binding vote; the council still will be able to vote either way on the issue. However, Williams said it would "give them enough information to decide on their own" whether to approve the measure.
Representatives from Collinsville's VFW and American Legion spoke in favor of allowing the initiative to pass, even asking the council not to wait for the November referendum.
"We need that revenue," said Bill Gibb, of the Collinsville VFW.
Under the new state laws allowing video gambling, players insert cash into the machine for a maximum of $2 per hand in poker and blackjack. There is a $500 limit on the cash award for an individual hand.
The law was passed in 2009, but won't really get going in Illinois until later this year due to long delays in court challenges. Host establishments such as bars will pay about $100 a year to license their machines, and can have up to five machines at any one location.
The machines must be in an area restricted to those 21 or older, or physically barred to those under age. Individual cities have the right to opt out of video gaming, and several -- including Swansea -- already have.
But the key for municipalities are the taxes: the state gets 25 percent of gross receipts and the municipality gets 5 percent. The remainder is split between the machine owner and the host establishment.
As of last month, 77 bars, truck stops and veterans' associations have applied for gaming licenses in Madison and St. Clair counties.
The referendum will appear on the November ballot.
In other news, Williams is likely to be the city council's choice for city manager.
Mayor John Miller announced Monday that the council will vote in August on appointing Williams as permanent city manager.
Williams has served as interim city manager since November 2011, when the council asked Robert Knabel to resign. Williams has served 24 years with the Collinsville Police Department, and intends to retire as police chief upon his appointment as city manager.
"Based on his many years of exemplary service and leadership, the City Council is confident Scott will continue to excel as he leads the city," Miller said in his statement.
The council will vote on Aug. 13 whether to confirm Williams' appointment.
Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2501.