Illinois Mayor Questions Video Gaming Value

Marion, Illinois Mayor Robert Butler said although his municipality collected $111,137 in video gaming receipts on $27 million played in 2014, he has doubts about the games' value. "On the balance, there has to be somebody losing for the state to be getting the money," he said.

According to Illinois Gaming Board figures, the state of Illinois delivered about ,000 to the city of Marion from the 5 percent of video gaming proceeds generated in January and designated for municipalities. The city hosts 13 businesses that offer 60 video gambling machines, for which the city charges 0 per machine annually. In 2014, Marion received 1, 137 in video gaming receipts from million played. Williamson County received ,000 in January and million in 2014.

But Marion Mayor Robert Butler has his doubts about the value of the games. “People who are spending their money on the video games are not spending their money on other commodities like clothing, food or whatever. It’s also my opinion you will not find many millionaires playing video games. Often those who can least afford it are the ones playing. On the balance, there has to be somebody losing for the state to be getting the money,” he said.

Butler said the city has issued 30 liquor licenses, but not all of them have applied to offer video gaming. He added the city recently has denied two or three liquor license applications because the applicants only were interested in gaming.

In contrast, Carbondale recently established a liquor license category designed just for video gaming parlors. The village of West City plans to do the same. Butler noted, “Mt. Vernon has 95 machines, so between the two cities there are over 150 devices, and that’s just in two towns. There are probably 800 towns that have gaming devices in the state, so it’s a monumental thing.”

Under the 2009 Video Gaming Act, licensed truck stops, bars, restaurants and veterans and fraternal establishments may have up five video gaming terminals.