๐Ÿค‘ Video Gambling in Chicago? Hereโ€™s Whatโ€™s at Stake. | Better Government Association

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Because they operate in a grey area of the gambling legislation, sweepstakes machines are able to escape regulation and taxation. One key difference is that no payment or purchase is required to use a sweepstakes machine. When comparing municipalities of similar size and with comparable inventory of video gambling terminals, municipalities located closer to city limits easily outearn municipalities located farther away. Any policy on one will have a direct impact on the other. But the pressure is on. Chicago residents seem to have an appetite for gambling. The other option would be for the city to bring sweepstakes machines under the umbrella of legal video gambling, subject to licensing and taxing requirements. This presents an added layer of regulatory complexity. A bill sponsored by Rep. Jun 17, AM. Even if the state continues to turn a blind eye to them, Chicago can and should take a harder line by eradicating and banning sweepstakes machines. No matter what course of action the city takes with video gambling, it cannot allow sweepstakes machines to continue to operate without any form of oversight. Advocating policy for a better government. More from Policy Action. To get rid of the existing machines already in place throughout Chicago, the city would need to devote resources to identify and locate these machines, none of which are registered or searchable from any publicly-available database. Emailed straight to you.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} Except for a bump in earned revenue following the opening of Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, casino revenues across Illinois have been in steady decline since Meanwhile, video gambling revenue has gone up every year since video gambling was legalized in Legalizing video gambling would almost certainly hamstring the already weak proposals for a casino in Chicago. Arroyo, who has since resigned his House seat, was working his side job as a City Hall lobbyist. The legislation included a provision that allowed for home rule municipalities to opt out of legal video gambling. Although these machines typically advertise coupons for merchandise or other prizes, they are more often exchanged for cash. Pritzker has asked the Gaming Board to propose legislation to tighten the rules on video gambling, including possibly banning sweepstakes machines altogether. Lou Lang went further and explicitly decriminalized sweepstakes machines by stipulating that any machines or devices not in violation of the Illinois Criminal Code cannot be presumed illegal. That would be a smart move. How's Mayor Lori Lightfoot Doing? A municipality that chooses to ignore sweepstakes machines risks having a lot of dirty laundry to clean up โ€” and no revenue. She is responsible for conducting research, developing advocacy strategies and policy positions, and conducting legislative advocacy in support of transparency, accountability, and efficiency at all levels of government. Should it continue to allow sweepstakes machines? We're Keeping Track. Support our work. These differences are meant to exploit loopholes in Illinois gambling laws. Rick Heidner, whose Gold Rush Gaming has machines in nearly venues, pressed his case with the mayor at a budget town hall meeting, Politico reported. The machines benefit small businesses by bringing in more customers and more revenue. Chicago could repeal its long-standing ordinance and make video gambling legal within city limits, allowing the city to tap into a new revenue stream. In the summer of , video gambling operators were poised to push into Chicago for the first time. The number of terminals in operation and the tax revenue collected from video gambling terminals has increased every year since their legalization. Lobbyists started working the city to lift its ban on video poker machines. For example, some machines allow players to enter personal information e. State Rep. Video Gambling in Chicago? Because payment is not required to play sweepstakes machines, proponents argue that, pursuant to the Criminal Code, it cannot be classified as a video gambling machine. Another factor to consider is the revenue cannibalization from casinos. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}Chicago has resisted allowing the machines โ€” so far. These machines bring their owners revenue without any associated taxes and fees, so why would an owner voluntarily switch to installing legal and regulated video gambling terminals? Sweepstakes machines โ€” video gambling with a different name โ€” present direct economic competition to a proposed Chicago casino. By Joann Wong. Proponents of sweepstakes machines note that any money or credit paid into these machines is payment for a coupon and does not constitute wagering of money or credits; therefore, the machines are a tool for product promotion and not gambling. They also cast public skepticism and doubt over legal forms of gambling. The Illinois General Assembly had just passed a massive gambling bill โ€” quickly signed into law by Gov. The Illinois Criminal Code does not consider games that do not require payment or purchase to participate to be gambling. Unbound by the VGA provision that restricts video gambling terminals to businesses with liquor licenses, sweepstakes machines can be found not only in bars and restaurants, but also convenience stores, gas stations and even laundromats. Should anyone? Legalizing sweepstakes machines might also have the unintended effect of harming local businesses. Martin Sandoval in September. The city could declare sweepstakes machines illegal. Should Chicago allow video gambling? Chicago could continue to outlaw video gambling within city limits. Profits directly benefit only the machine operators and the businesses that house them. At the end of FY , Illinois had 32, video gambling terminals, more than any other state with legalized video gambling outside of casinos. An industry that operates in the shadowy grey area of the law is an open invitation to bad actors. More people want to play, and more people are spending more money at these terminals. It is reasonable to assume that legalizing video gambling in Chicago would generate revenue. Source: Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. Investigations, perspectives, analysis. Author s. But the fees and taxes associated with legal video gambling terminals on top of revenue sharing with three different entities state, city and terminal manufacturer might prove too burdensome for small business owners to continue operating the machines. Operators reached out to Chicago businesses interested in installing gambling terminals. Then suddenly video gambling was all over the news, and not in a good way. A Chicago Tribune story raised questions about whether Gold Rush should have been granted a license in to operate the machines. Payment for continued play is required once the original free credits have been used. In order to bring legal video gambling terminals to Chicago, the city would first need to address the sweepstakes machines. This is especially problematic because the proposed higher privilege tax rate on a Chicago casino Legalizing video gambling in order to create a revenue stream is going after low-hanging fruit. Updated: Jun 16, PM. Regulators would not only be tasked with finding such machines, but also with vetting the owners, since some sweepstakes machine operators are people who were deemed ineligible for video gambling licenses. Pritzker โ€” that would allow more video gambling machines, with higher maximum bets and higher payouts. Another difference is that these machines pay out coupons instead of cash. Municipalities such as Mundelein and Rolling Meadows have already preemptively passed ordinances banning sweepstakes machines after recently opting into the VGA. Another requisite element of gambling is the wagering of money or other things of value.