(The Center Square) – A new bill that would make changes to Illinois gambling laws has been sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker for approval.
The bill is a follow-up bill from previous legislation, House Bill 521, a gambling bill that Pritzker signed in 2019.
The legislation allows for a business that has a sports betting license to legally be allowed to take a bet on an Illinois college team, provided the bet is made at a betting facility in person.
State Sen. Bill Cunningham discussed the new ways Illinoisans can bet on state college sports.
“This temporarily allows individuals to bet on Illinois collegiate teams, as long as the bet is made in person and not related to an individual athlete’s performance,” Cunningham said.
House Bill 3136 also makes changes to the implementation of a “push tax.” This would prohibit any establishment from taxing video gaming machines. Businesses that have enacted a push tax before Nov. 1st can keep their tax, but will not be able to increase that tax going forward.
Other changes in the bill would allow firefighters across the state to have the option to hold charitable raffles by now being eligible for a charitable raffle license as well as changes to the Wintrust Arena, where the Chicago Sky play basketball, Cunningham said.
“This legislation will allow fire protection agencies and their associations to organize charitable raffles,” Cunningham said. “It also allows the Wintrust Arena to be eligible for a sports wagering license as well.”
The Wintrust Arena and the Chicago Sky would join the Bulls, Cubs, and Bears in being eligible to have in-person sports betting.
The bill is currently waiting for approval from Gov. J.B. Pritzker. If signed, the legislation goes into effect immediately.
During last week’s Moline City Council Committee-of-the-Whole meeting, aldermen discussed the city’s gaming regulations and whether they should be modified in order to allow more establishments to offer slots and other gaming machines — as well as increasing the number of gaming stations allowed in those establishments.
Before the discussion proceeds further or decisions are made, Mayor Sangeetha Rayapati and the rest of the Council members agreed they first need input from Moline residents, according to a city release Wednesday.
A public meeting on the issue has been scheduled for Monday, Nov. 29 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Moline Public Library Bronze Room, 3210 41st St.
“We need to hear from the people of Moline on this issue before we consider any changes to our gaming code,” Mayor Rayapati said in the release.
The meeting will include a presentation on Moline’s current video gaming regulations, how they differ from state of Illinois regulations, how peer communities handle the issue and potential changes to the rules. Resident input will then be solicited.
Currently, Moline has capped the number of establishments – both bars/restaurants and video gaming parlors – at 30. City rules also allow no more than five gaming stations in those non-casino establishments, whereas state law allows up to six.
Compared to other Illinois cities, Moline’s regulations are relatively stringent, the city release said. For example, Champaign has 62 establishments with 322 total gaming machines. Springfield has 144 establishments and 732 terminals, while Decatur has 91 and 490 respectively.
Currently, Moline’s establishments only have a total of 171 terminals. East Moline, by comparison, has 31 establishments and 164 terminals while Rock Island has 21 establishments and 101 terminals.
Moline brings in around $385,000 in annual revenue from video gaming establishments. Both Springfield and Decatur bring in more than $1.7 million annually.
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The West Chicago City Council voted 9 to 5 on Monday in favor of allowing video gambling. Proponents of overturning the city ban pointed out that every municipality surrounding West Chicago has allowed video gambling, and that the city’s businesses needed to have a level playing field to compete. Opponents cited a 2018 city referendum when 69 percent of voters chose to opt out of video gambling, which was made legal in Illinois in 2009.
The Senate voted 44-12 to approve the legislation, which was later approved by the House on a 100-11-1 roll. It now heads to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk.
The legislation, House Bill 3136, revives an effort that died during the spring legislative session when a similar bill passed overwhelmingly in the House but was not called in the Senate.
It serves as a trailer bill to the 2019 omnibus gaming legislation, which legalized sports betting, authorized six additional brick-and-mortar casinos and additional video gaming terminals at truck stops, bars and restaurants.
However, at the behest of the state’s Division I athletic directors, betting on Illinois college teams was not permitted in the initial legislation.
This omission was quickly criticized by casual sports fans in the state. It was exposed no more than when two in-state teams, the Illinois Fighting Illini and Loyola Ramblers men’s basketball teams, met in the 2021 NCAA March Madness tournament and fans were unable to place wagers.
In the new bill, bets will be permitted on the final outcome of games but not individual performance. There is a July 1, 2023 sunset on the provision, meaning lawmakers will have to address it again in a few years if they wish to continue allowing the wagering activity. Bets must be made in-person.
Meanwhile, the proposal would prevent additional municipalities from enacting a “push tax,” which is placed on each bet made at video gaming terminals. Lawmakers have sought to put a lid on the practice, which they said would eat into revenue coming into the state.
“She’s a person who suffered from a mental illness. And that mental illness is gone,” her lawyer said.
“If you put a patchwork of taxes throughout the state, whether it’s a penny or two cents or five cents, it comes off the top and it could have a negative effect on the funding source for the capital bill,” said state Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island.
However, the handful of cities, including Decatur, that have already enacted the tax will be grandfathered in, allowing them to continue collecting the tax, which has been subject to several lawsuits.
The Illinois Municipal League encouraged municipalities to explore enacting the tax before being preempted by the state. Oak Lawn, Tinley Park and Waukegan have also implemented the tax while some other suburban Chicago towns are considering it ahead of a Nov. 1 cutoff.
The Decatur City Council approved the tax in September and it took effect Oct. 1. City manager Scot Wrighton estimated that, conservatively, the tax could net the city another $700,000 annually.
The idea of a municipal penny-per-push tax on video gambling machines is proving infectious, as more Illinois communities rush to stay ahead of pending state legislation aimed at vaccinating the industry against the new trend.
Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates officials this week followed the lead of their neighbor Hanover Park and approved push taxes effective May 2022.
Amid criticism from gambling terminal operators and establishments that house the machines, officials in both Northwest suburbs said their immediate goal is to preserve their right to impose the tax if needed in the future. Their votes came as a bill works its way through the state legislature that could outlaw new push taxes.
“If we don’t take any action, we will be forever banned at this point from being able to use this,” Schaumburg Mayor Tom Dailly said before his board’s 5-0 vote. “Had this not come up at the state level — the state wanting to ban this — we would not be having this conversation today.”
The state House passed an omnibus gambling bill on June 1 that tentatively set that day as the deadline for any new municipal push taxes in home rule communities. However, the legislation has yet to be taken up by the Senate or signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. That could occur during the imminent veto session.
Schaumburg village staff members last week told the village board’s finance and general government committee that the legislation could take effect immediately but not retroactively. Therefore, any push tax approved before the bill becomes law could remain.
Meanwhile, copies of Hanover Park’s push tax ordinance, which tentatively begins Jan. 1, have been requested by Elk Grove Village, Carol Stream and Glendale Heights, Village President Rod Craig said.
Unlike Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates, Hanover Park is not taking a hands-off approach to using the tax.
“We’re trying to get some more money so we don’t have to raise property taxes,” Craig said. “We haven’t raised them in Hanover Park in five or six years. We’re at a point where our streets are atrocious.”
During September 2021, Hanover Park took in about $19,592 from 46 machines at eight locations. Schaumburg earned $11,639 from 60 machines at 11 locations and Hoffman Estates took in $46,812 from 147 machines at 25 locations.
Under state law, 5% of gambling machine revenues go to municipalities, 25% goes to the state, and the Video Gaming Terminal Central Communication System, to which all machines in the state connect, collects 1%. The remaining 69% is evenly split between the machine operator and the establishment hosting the machine.
Travis Akin, co-director of the Support Main Street Illinois Coalition, is among the critics of the push tax. He said his organization is working from a calculation that municipalities imposing the tax could see a 250% increase to their revenue. He believes that will be at the expense of the terminal operators and the hospitality businesses that host them.
“I think from our perspective, the businesses being affected by this have gone through the worst year of their lives,” Akin said. “There is a willingness on the part of establishment owners to work with municipalities. There’s just a fundamental disagreement that this should be the way to do so.”
Joliet, Waukegan and Oak Lawn are among the other communities that have adopted push tax measures.
In contrast to Schaumburg’s 5-0 approval, the Hoffman Estates village board was divided 4-3 in favor.
Hoffman Estates Trustee Gary Stanton, who voted against the tax, voiced concerns the village could be sued by gambling interests, as has been the case with Waukegan and Oak Lawn.
While village Corporation Counsel Art Janura said Hoffman Estates would not be exposed to paying damages until it begins collecting the tax, Stanton noted the village could still be on the hook for any legal fees incurred in defending itself.
Gambling companies and businesses that host video gambling terminals also are lining up against push taxes.
Rick Heidner, who owns Gold Rush Gaming, the third largest video gambling machine operator in Illinois, said the tax would significantly tear into the industry’s 5% profit margin.
“This would definitely be a setback,” Heidner said. “A lot of municipalities are just kneejerking and thinking ‘extra money, extra money.'”
Jennifer Strang, owner of The Hideout tavern in Schaumburg, said the tax would be as bad for businesses like hers that rely on the machines to attract customers and earn additional revenue.
“There’s no reason to add such a harmful tax,” she said.
MANHATTAN, IL — The Village of Manhattan Board of Trustees unanimously authorized at its Tuesday meeting the appointment of a full-time police officer. The position takes effect Sunday.
Ryan Gulli, has 15 years of experience with both the Manhattan and Midlothian Police Departments, will assume full-time police officer duties, according to village officials. While serving as a DARE officer, he was selected as the Illinois DARE Officer of the Year, according to Village officials
The full-time position opened up when police officer Rebecca Buhs went from full-time to part-time status, according to the Village.
Find out what’s happening in Manhattan with free, real-time updates from Patch.
“The full-time hiring of officer Gulli will provide an extra officer on the street,” said Manhattan Police Chief Jeff Wold. “In addition to his patrol duties, he will serve as a truck enforcement officer. Truck enforcement is an important role in keeping our streets safe; overweight trucks are a hazard to the motoring public and they can cause undue damage to our roadways.”
Mass Notification System Registration Coming Soon
The Village Board of Trustees also unanimously approved to enter into an agreement with the Will County Emergency Telephone System Board, which will allow the Village to utilize Will County’s Everbridge Mass Notification System to communicate with residents and businesses in the Village.
Find out what’s happening in Manhattan with free, real-time updates from Patch.
The Everbridge system can send thousands of text messages, emails and prerecorded voice messages in just a few minutes to notify specific geographic areas of emergency situations, non-emergency events or other information, according to the Village.
Residents will be able to register for alerts from Everbridge and select how they receive the messages: by cell phone, text message, home phone and/or email, according to the Village. Residents listed in the Will County 9-1-1 database will be automatically subscribed to alerts by phone, but the notification system allows people to self-register, provide additional contact information, or to opt out, according to the Village.
“Public safety is a priority for me, and this is one vital way to communicate with residents on multiple levels,” said Manhattan Mayor Mike Adrieansen. “This partnership with Will County allows our Village to send both emergency and non-emergency information across all types of devices ensuring our residents have access to accurate and timely information as quickly and reliably as possible. I would encourage both residents and individuals who work in Manhattan to sign up online to receive these important messages.”
Registration information will soon be available on the Village of Manhattan website, according to the Village.
“Sweepstakes” Gaming Machines Banned
The Village of Manhattan took the proactive step of banning so-called “sweepstakes machines” from operation in the village.
Sweepstakes machines share many similarities to video gaming machines in how they look and operate, according to multiple media reports, but they are not regulated or taxed as video gaming terminals are.
The sweepstakes machines use a loophole in the Illinois Gaming Board rules that exempt them from IGB oversight. The sweepstakes machines are marketed as “entertainment machines” and, therefore, do not fall under the IGB’s definition of video gaming terminals. It has been widely reported, however, that the unregulated sweepstakes machines do offer cash and/or voucher payouts, essentially making the machines no different than legally operated video gaming terminals.
Adrieansen said he became aware of the sweepstakes machines in other towns while doing research for the Village’s liquor licenses in order to attract more businesses. There currently are no sweepstakes machines in the village, Adrieansen said. He added that the sweepstakes machines are “not a good fit” for the Village at this time.
Multiple other towns in Illinois have also proactively banned sweepstakes machines via local ordinances, according to Support Main Street Illinois, a coalition of owners and operators of Illinois restaurants and bars, video gaming equipment manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and terminal operators.
Warrenville aldermen could repeal the city’s longtime ban on video gambling as early as next month.
City attorneys and staff are finalizing details for an ordinance that would allow select licensed businesses to have up to six video gambling machines. The city council is scheduled to vote on the measure during its Sept. 7 meeting.
Illinois legalized video gambling in 2009, but towns and counties were able to opt out. Warrenville enacted its ban that year.
In recent months, many business owners have approached city council members asking the city to drop its ban, according to Warrenville Mayor David Brummel. The business owners said they need video gambling machines to generate more revenue.
“There’s certainly opposition to the gambling aspect in the community,” Brummel said. “But what we’ve determined is that there is enough benefit if we can control it enough so that it is not going to change the nature of the community, but that the benefit will help the community in terms of revenue.”
The proposed gambling ordinance has several provisions and restrictions, including requiring businesses to operate in Warrenville for one year before applying for a gaming liquor license.
“We want it to be an accessory to a going business as opposed to one of those gaming cafes,” Brummel said.
Still, there are some disagreements about the ordinance among the aldermen.
For example, there’s debate about whether a movie theater should be excluded from having video gambling machines. There also is talk about crafting a carve-out for Warrenville VFW Post 8081 since it doesn’t have the same food preparation capabilities as required in the ordinance among restaurants and bars.
“They’re looking for a little help. They’re struggling just like the rest of us,” said Brummel about the VFW. “Their population is aging, they’re having difficulty getting people into the club, so they were hoping the gaming could not only attract people but also bring in some income.”
Brummel said Warrenville found a much more receptive response to video gambling, with six out of 24 surveyed businesses and organizations expressing an interest. Using 2019 data from communities in or near DuPage County, Warrenville’s staff estimated video gambling could generate $47,900 to $61,600 in annual revenue.
“It’s not a huge game-changer, but I think it is something that will help out the city and the businesses that choose to participate,” Brummel said. “We’re trying to bridge the gap between difficult times and the better times that are coming — hopefully.”
MARYVILLE — Imagine hitting the slots while sipping a cold, frosty adult beverage or trying your luck at a one-arm bandit during a visit to your favorite Maryville establishment. Those possibilities may soon become realities.
Mayor Craig Short said Wednesday the village board of trustees called a special meeting for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 30 to vote on video gaming before the Independence Day holiday weekend.
Short and the trustees also discussed the issue during a caucus meeting on June 9. Remember that caucus meetings, on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, are where discussions take place, but no voting happens. The ordinance would repeal the prohibition chapter of video gaming first then adopt a new chapter approving the activity.
There are several places in the village that are currently not applicable, such as a licensed fraternal or veterans’ establishment and truck stops.
Where video gaming occurs will be driven by liquor licenses. Lyle’s Tavern, Bella Vista, Boogie’s, Mariachi’s Mexican Restaurant and now, Plan, Shop, Live Kitchen, all have liquor licenses.
The new act will only apply to bars (Class A); social clubs (Class B); and restaurants (Class D). These license holders must have been in operation and good standing with the village for at least 12 months. At present, the village has two Class A license holders, no Class B license holders and now, three Class D license holders, Short said.
He added that the village’s code on this is less restrictive than O’Fallon’s. That town makes businesses of good standing with liquor licenses wait 24 months before applying for a video gaming license.
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Tinley Park officials have approved a penny-per-play tax on video gambling terminals that will take effect next spring. (Mike Nolan / Daily Southtown)
Tinley Park officials have approved a penny-per-play tax on video gambling machines, a move delayed for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 1-cent tax for each push or play on a video gambling terminal will go into effect April 30, 2022, under the ordinance approved Tuesday by the Village Board.
It is similar to Oak Lawn’s pay-to-play tax that took effect Jan. 1, 2020.
The tax would fall on gamblers, but the owners of the machines, which are companies separate from the restaurant or bar where the devices are located, would be put in the position of tax collectors.
Tinley Park has studied the tax since March of last year, before the pandemic brought on orders for nonessential businesses, including video gambling, to suspend operations.
Initially, video gambling was halted from March 16 through the end of last June, then again from Nov. 20 through mid-January of this year, according to the state gaming board.
As of the end of May, there were 195 video gambling terminals at 37 locations in Tinley Park, according to the gaming board.
For all of May, gamblers spent nearly $5.2 million at those machines, and the village realized revenue from the existing tax on gaming of almost $66,400, according to the state board.
For all of 2020, $27.1 million was spent at video terminals in the village, with Tinley Park receiving tax revenue of just under $344,200.
It’s not clear how much the new 1-cent tax would generate, and, under the ordinance, revenue generated would be used to “promote the general health, safety and welfare” of the village and “provide adequate funds to offset the adverse effects of gambling within the village.”
In March of last year, after Oak Lawn’s tax took effect, the Illinois Gaming Machine Operators Association sued in Cook County Circuit Court, challenging the constitutionality of the tax and saying it violates state video gaming laws. That case is still pending.
Trustees gave initial approval Tuesday to annexing 111 acres at the northeast of Harlem Avenue and Vollmer Road, now in unincorporated Cook County.
The site is directly north of an Amazon fulfillment center under construction in Matteson, and Indianapolis-based Scannell Properties is proposing a phased development of up to 1.3 million square feet of industrial space for warehousing and distribution on the site Tinley Park.
A rendering of an industrial development proposed at the northeast corner of Harlem Avenue and Vollmer Road at a site Tinley Park seeks too annex. (Village of Tinley Park)
The village has scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. June 29 on the annexation, and final approval is expected by the Village Board following the hearing.
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Up to three buildings could be constructed, and the first would be just under 200,000 square feet and be located at the north end of the site, according to initial plans. Scannell plans that to be a speculative building, with no designated tenant lined up to occupy it.
It would have 24 loading docks and outside space for storing up to 50 trailers.
A second building, directly south of the first one, would be about 605,000 square feet, and a third building would be 462,000 square feet, according to the proposal. Those two buildings could be combined, however.
The entire property would be accessible at three locations along Harlem, including at the stoplight at Benton Drive, and there would also be access from Vollmer, according to plans.
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