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Oswego legalizes bingo, other games of chance

An aresenior places marker number during round bingo an Oswego church.  |  FILE PHOTO

An area senior places a marker on a number during a round of bingo at an Oswego church. | FILE PHOTO

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Updated: December 19, 2012 10:59AM

OSWEGO — Bingo night is now legal in Oswego.

Which is probably a good thing, considering organizations like churches and schools have been raising funds through bingo, pull-tab games and 50/50 raffles illegally here since 1935.

“That’s why we try to update all our ordinances and stuff. When I was first appointed to the legislative policy committee, we started on A and got to H — I couldn’t believe we have a special law for haberdasheries,” said Village Board President Brian LeClercq

Tuesday night, the board voted to update the old gambling ordinance, which prohibited charity games like bingo nights and raffles, as well as prizes for triathlons, golf tournaments, car shows and the Illinois Lottery. Possessing an antique slot machine —whether or not it is used — was also prohibited.

“Every now and then we find these types of laws that aren’t really what the current board would like to have so we just need to update it,” said Karl Ottosen, the village’s attorney.

“Chicago used to have an ordinance that no ugly person could be on the street and they don’t seem to enforce that very well. I was down there last week and they didn’t arrest me.”

Oswego trustees discovered the wide-reaching gambling prohibition during discussion of state video gambling laws in September, when trustees voted against changing village ordinances to allow video gambling machines in bars and restaurants.

This week’s ordinance change allows the charity games to continue, but continues to prohibit video gaming.

The new ordinance was passed unanimously. Trustee Terry Michels was absent.

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