Illinois Lawmaker Needs to Legalize Video Gaming in Chicago


Posted on: April 2, 2024, 10:31h. 

Final up to date on: April 2, 2024, 10:38h.

Laws launched to the Illinois Home of Representatives by state Rep. Kam Buckner (D-Chicago) would enable small companies in Chicago to hunt a video gaming terminal (VGT) license no matter whether or not they at the moment provide unlawful sweepstakes machines.

Illinois VGT video gaming Chicago
Video gaming terminals are seen inside an Illinois bar. A state lawmaker needs to carry Chicago’s ban on VGT gadgets to generate new tax income for the distressed metropolis. (Picture: Common Gaming Group)

Home Invoice 5791 would amend Illinois’ Video Gaming Act to permit enterprise candidates who beforehand housed unregulated sweepstakes machines to pursue VGT licenses.

Sweepstakes machines, controversial gray gaming apparatuses that regulation enforcement has lengthy deemed to be unlawful playing gadgets, proceed to proliferate in Chicago as a result of metropolis’s VGT ban.

Ought to Chicago carry its VGT prohibition, HB 5791 would create a framework for companies at the moment providing sweepstakes machines to hunt slot-like VGT permits from the Illinois Gaming Board.

Funding Issues

Chicago continues to attempt to discover methods to pay for its damaged pension system for first responders. The $1.7 billion Bally’s Chicago downtown on line casino is meant to play a major position, however the improvement of the Freedom Heart undertaking hasn’t gone as deliberate.

Chicago’s Metropolis Council has maintained its ban on VGTs for the reason that state legalized the gaming machines for companies holding liquor licenses in 2012. Along with HB 5791, Buckner needs the Windy Metropolis to carry the VGT ordinance.

Buckner has already met with metropolis officers who appear open to lifting the greater than decade-old VGT ban.

Nobody would disagree that we have to have a look at each income choice,” Alderman William Corridor instructed the Chicago Tribune.

Buckner mentioned step considered one of his effort to convey VGTs to Chicago is successful over the Metropolis Council.

It’s nonetheless early, however we will’t do something with out them utterly purchased in,” mentioned Buckner.

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson hasn’t taken a place publicly about lifting town’s VGT ban.

Illinoisans wagered $2.8 billion on VGT machines final 12 months, based on state gaming regulators.

Springfield, the state capital that’s residence to about 113K folks — a far cry from Chicago’s 2.7 million populace — has essentially the most VGT machines of any metropolis within the state. Springfield obtained about $2.5 million in native tax income from the VGT gadgets final 12 months.

Springfield has 137 companies providing VGT machines. The institutions collectively provided 748 gaming gadgets as of February.

Sweepstakes Machines Defined

Whereas Chicago maintains a ban on state-regulated VGTs, many small companies all through town have introduced sweepstakes gadgets in. The gray gaming gadgets enable gamers to wager actual money to win retailer credit score.

The Illinois Gaming Board has lengthy levied that sweepstakes machines represent unlawful playing. Together with the pension funding downside, Johnson is in search of new income sources to curb town’s homelessness downside.

In a particular referendum final month, metropolis voters turned down Johnson’s $100 million “Deliver Chicago Residence” plan to put aside extra reasonably priced housing within the metropolis and for the native authorities to develop a complete homelessness prevention plan. The funding would have been created by rising property taxes on owners and property house owners whose actual property belongings are assessed at greater than $1 million.

A slight majority of Chicagoans — 52.2% — voted towards the initiative.  

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