Although video gambling remains legal in town, Mundelein officials on Monday banned electronic sweepstakes machines.
Sweepstakes machines closely resemble the video gambling machines found in bars and restaurants throughout Mundelein and elsewhere across the state.
But while licensed video gambling was legalized by the Illinois General Assembly in 2012, state gambling officials say sweepstakes machines are forbidden in Illinois.
As such, they’re unregulated and their revenue isn’t shared with towns or the state. Their transactions and payouts aren’t recorded and publicly reported like those of video gambling machines, either.
State law doesn’t specifically outlaw sweepstakes machines, however — and the machines have popped up in Chicago and some suburbs.
According to a memo from Assistant Village Administrator Peter Vadopalas, some proponents of sweepstakes machines say they shouldn’t be regulated like video gambling machines because they can be played for free — as well as for cash — and offer coupons that are exchanged for prizes.
Mundelein officials are unaware of any sweepstakes machines in town. As of last month, 14 Mundelein businesses had a total of 69 video gambling terminals.
The ordinance was prompted by an inquiry from a sweepstakes machine operator, Vadopalas said.
“This ordinance is presented as a pre-emptive prohibition,” Vadopalas said.
Violators will face fines of $250 to $750 per machine.
Mount Prospect, Niles and Oak Park are among the other suburbs that have banned sweepstakes machines.