Village Board listens to video gaming discussion

Village Trustees have asked Village staff to draft a possible ordinance which will allow video game gambling within Village limits after hearing from local restaurant owners Tuesday.

Trustees Vicki Cook and Bruce Colravy said while they are in favor of the possibility of allowing video game gambling in Village limits, they would like to open the floor to public discussion next month.

The 2009 Illinois Video Gaming Act legalizes the use of Video Gaming Terminals in liquor licensed establishments, truck stops, veteran and certain fraternal organizations. Municipalities or counties may pass an ordinance or a referendum if approved by a majority of voters to prohibit such devices within limits.

Melody Gaming owner Tom Fieldler shared that 193 Illinois municipalities do not allow video game gambling, while 868 allow it. He said 372 municipalities are undecided or have not addressed the issue.

The Village of Mahomet voted to opt out of the Act in 2009. JT Walker’s representative Nick Taylor noted the stigma with video game gambling is much like what the Village faced when it lifted the ban on alcohol sales within Village limits. Taylor said alcohol sales have revitalized the downtown area.

With rising costs associated with the restaurant industry alongside minimum wage, Taylor noted the additional income from the machines will offset the burden local restaurants are facing.

Main Street Wingery owner, Rich Minnick added just as restaurant owners and employees are responsible for the amount of alcohol customers consume, they will also be mindful of the amount of time a customer spends on a gambling machine.

Fielder said each machine accept a maximum $2 bid with a $500 limit per player.

Mayor Patrick Brown relayed a comment from Bobby Slade, former owner of the Hideaway Restaurant. Slade said although a gambling machine would not have kept his business from closing, the machines do help to market the business as a whole.

Under State law, the municipality will receive five-percent tax from the machines within their limits. A 30 percent gaming tax is also imposed on the net amount put into the machine.

The board will open the floor to discussion on this issue in April.

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