Norridge, Illinois Considers Video Gaming

Video gambling has exploded in the past three years in Illinois, and the village of Norridge may be the next community to offer it. Village President James Chmura said bar owners have said they're losing customers to businesses that allow the games in nearby communities.

Video gambling continues to grow throughout Illinois, with the village of Norridge considering an ordinance allowing gaming like its neighbors Schiller Park and Elmwood Park. Village President James Chmura said at least six business owners have inquired about offering the games, noting they’re losing customers to bars in nearby towns that have video gambling.

Chmura said if 10 bars in Norridge had five machines each, the village could earn up to $150,000 annually through receiving 5 percent of the total percentage of losses gamblers pay into the machines. He noted that additional income could cushion the blow if legislators approve Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposal to halve state revenue sharing to local governments. If that happened, Norridge could lose $720,000. “We have to start looking for additional revenue, because I’m not sure what the state will do at this point,” Chmura said.

The proposed ordinance would require bar owners who want the machines to pass a background check, Chmura said. In addition, besides liquor stores, only establishments that have a license to sell liquor could apply for a gaming license.

Under Illinois’ Video Gaming Act, bars pay a $1,000 annual licensing fee per machine—up to five per establishment. About 60 percent of the total gambling losses go to the machine operator and 30 percent go to the state. Chmura said that could add up to thousands in additional revenue per month for local bar owners.

Norridge Police Chief James Jobe said Elmwood Park and Schiller Park police departments “haven’t reported any extra crime in places that have gaming. No one seemed to have any concerns, and it seemed to be running smoothly.”