Orland Park, a village to the southwest of Chicago, has decided to overturn a ban on video gaming. The decision was made after an enormous outcry from residents and business owners who think the use of video gaming machines in other cities is drawing revenue away from the village. Businesses are expected to begin vying for the licenses in the next few weeks.
Gaming in Illinois
The state of Illinois has some of the most liberal gaming laws in the country. Casino gaming is allowed on riverboats along the state’s major rivers. Horse racing and dog racing are also allowed, and citizens are allowed to vote on those games via pari-mutuel betting. Bingo and lotteries are also allowed, as are scratch-off tickets and pull-tab tickets. While sports betting is currently not allowed, there is an expectation that the state government may try to enact sports gaming laws during the next legislative session in January. Some laws in Illinois, especially regarding gaming machines, are regulated by the cities and villages, which is why some areas around the village of Orland Park have video gambling machines, and Orland Park does not.
Orland Park is a village of approximately 50,000 people in Cook County. It is a relatively prosperous village, with a median income of nearly $80,000 per household. Less than 5 percent of the village lives below the poverty line. The village’s largest employer is the education sector, but the area also boasts jobs in retail and manufacturing.
The Battle over Video Gaming
The village has been one of only a few villages south and southwest of Chicago that have outlawed gambling machines. The vote on video gaming in the village was close, 4-3, even though the petitions that were sent in during the debate were pretty evenly split between those who wanted the machines and those who did not. Some of the villagers wanted to vote on the measure during the November midterm elections.
The mayor said that, at the beginning of the licensing process, only 20 establishments in the village will be allowed to receive gaming machines, and those businesses must have a Class A liquor license. Currently, there are 60 businesses in the village with a Class A license. The businesses would also have to be cleared by the Illinois Gaming Board. If the business is licensed for video gaming, it will have to pay an annual fee of $1,000 per gambling device, with a limit of five machines per business. The application fee is $2,500, with a yearly renewal fee of $1,000.
The village opted out of the state’s gaming law in 2009, which meant that it was not allowed to have gambling machines when the rest of the state was allowed to begin using them in 2012. The village had no intention of revisiting the law until some business owners began to complain that they were losing business to competitors who were located a mile or so away in another jurisdiction that had gambling. However, many residents did not want video gaming in the community because they said the social costs of gaming outweighed any revenue the village could make.
It is estimated that Orland Park would receive about a half-million dollars in revenue from gaming machine licenses each year. The businesses that operate video gaming machines would receive their revenue, less 30 percent in taxes. Of the 30 percent taxation rate, 25 percent would go to the state, and 5 percent to the village. The rest will go to the business where the machines are housed, and the companies that install and maintain the machines.
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