Most area bar owners are taking a wait and see attitude toward new legislation that has legalized video gambling in Illinois. Bar owners say that they are waiting for detailed rules being formulated by the Illinois Gambling Board. Those rules are supposed to be released for public comment in September.

“It’s too early to say,” said Chris DiBraccio the manager of Brixie’s Saloon on Ogden Avenue in Brookfield when asked whether Brixie’s would install video poker machines. DiBraccio said that it could be up to a year before it would be possible to install the machines. Right now he is more concerned with the upcoming increase in the liquor tax.

Ellen Frantzen, the owner of Joe’s Saloon on 47th Street in Brookfield and the president of the Brookfield Bar Owners Association, said she would have to see what kind of rules the state comes up with before deciding on whether to have video gambling at Joe’s Saloon.

Neither DiBraccio nor Frantzen thought video poker machines would do that much to increase their business.

“I don’t think the machines are going to draw people,” Frantzen said. “People go out to bars to enjoy themselves and for the friendliness of the other people who are there. They go for socialization.”

Under the new law, revenue from video gambling machines would be split among the state, local government, the local business and the company that owns the machines. One-sixth of the state’s cut would go to a local government fund that would be distributed to municipalities in proportion to the tax revenues machines in their communities generate.

Under the legislation local communities would have the right to ban video gambling in. Bans could be established by local government or by referendum.

Brookfield Village President Michael Garvey said that while he has misgivings about the law, he doesn’t know yet if the village board would try to ban video gambling in Brookfield.

“I don’t have a good feel for the temperature of the board on this one,” Garvey said.

Garvey said he is having the village’s attorney do some research to try to find out the financial implications of the new law.

“There’s a state share that we would get even if we opted out, but there is an additional cut … you would not get if you opted out,” Garvey said.

Garvey also said that he wants get more information and talk to leaders of other towns before making up his mind on what Brookfield should do.

“I want to get a feel for the how many applications we would have and what the impact would be,” Garvey said. “It’s the type of thing we’ll be talking about informally and monitoring the situation. I’d like to get more information on the law and what the potential financial impact would be if we opted out.”

Garvey said that he personally doesn’t think the law is a very good idea.

“My overall opinion is that I don’t think it is the best solution to the statewide problem,” Garvey said. “I think if they wanted to expand gambling, expanding existing sites would have made more sense. My personal opinion is that putting this in so many local establishments makes it too convenient or too easy for residents or consumers to spend the money or lose the money.”

Currently some bars in Brookfield already have entertainment-only video poker machines, including, according to Garvey, Cheers (formerly Phil’s Sports Bar & Grill), Joe’s Saloon, Johnny B’s and Off Broadway.

Earlier in the year Garvey said that Cook County’s Sheriffs police raided Phil’s Sports Bar & Grill and made arrests for illegal gambling on entertainment-only machines. That case has not been resolved and Phil’s Sports Bar & Grill has since been sold to new owners.

On Monday, a spokeswoman for the Cook County Sheriff could not immediately provide details of the raid.

In 2004, Cook County Sheriff’s police raided Phil’s, confiscated two video poker machines and charged a bartender with making illegal payouts. Later in 2004, sheriff’s police confiscated video poker machines from the Brookfield Bowl and charged its owner with making illegal payouts.

Garvey said if there are any convictions for gambling in any Brookfield bar, the owner of that bar would not only lose his liquor license but lose his business license.

In North Riverside video poker and other arcade games are currently not allowed, according to Mayor Kenneth Krochmal.

“You can only have a juke box and a cigarette machine, and if you have a dart board you can’t charge for it,” Krochmal said.

But he said that since the state will allow video gambling, he does not favor banning it in North Riverside.

“I’m not going to hurt our proprietors, and I think the board is on the same track,” Krochmal said.