The Springfield City Council wants to make sure the city’s many video gaming parlors are playing by the rules.
Video gambling establishments can operate if 60% of their revenue comes from food and liquor sales. But lack of oversight has allowed many to keep operating without following this rule. Investigations happen only if someone files a complaint.
Ward 9 Ald. Jim Donelan said he’s heard stories about establishments that don't have a kitchen, yet run video gamining terminals. He said the changes to the rules will keep business owners accountable. "This will help make it extremely clear that most types of establishments that aren’t compliant with the rules—there will be ramifications.”
One proposed change would increase the yearly fee businesses pay for their gaming terminals from $500 to $1,000. The additional money would be used to help pay for regular audits. Council members said they will add penalties at a later time for those who don't comply.
Another change would increase the number of gaming terminals allowed from 5 to 6, mirroring a new statewide gambling law.
According to a recent report, Springfield already has the most video poker, slots and other gambling machines in the state.
But Mayor Jim Langfelder said adding one more terminal per establishment doesn’t change much.
“I don’t mind the sixth video terminal. I think we should bring it back each time there are changes with state legislature, instead of just opening up the doors-- I think we have to take a hard look at really capping it though at some point with regards to establishing new businesses.”
The suggestion comes just months after Gov. JB Pritzker signed a massive gaming expansion bill, that adds 6 casino licenses, legalizes sports betting and allows video gaming terminals inside the Illinois State Fairgrounds.