Push Tax Legislation
In 2019, the Village of Oak Lawn became the first community in the world to approve a “Push Tax” on video gaming. The “Push Tax” ordinance assesses a one-cent tax each time a player initiates a play on a video gaming terminal, regardless of the amount of their wager, including on a penny bet.
Local businesses and terminal operators are concerned about the financial implications of the tax. An analysis of the tax shows the true financial impact of the tax is more than just a mere penny. The “Push Tax” represents a threat from local authorities that will drive away business and patrons at a time when they are trying to recover from months of pandemic-related mandatory closures.
After Oak Lawn several communities followed suit prompting a 2021 legislative effort to stop more communities from implementing the tax. Senate Bill 521 clarified the legislature’s intent and preempted Home Rule communities from enacting any taxes on video gaming. In the closing days of the spring session, the measure gained momentum in the House and garnered 96 votes despite only needing 71 but the legislature adjourned before it could be presented for a vote in the Senate.
The bill also allowed the “Push Tax” to remain in communities that had one in place prior to June 1, 2021. When the Senate did not take up Senate Bill 521, over the summer several communities decided to enact a “Push Tax” ordinance hoping theirs would be permitted as well.
In October, when the Veto Session convened it became evident Senate Bill 521 was not going to be considered, which led to an effort to pass a new bill. In the end, House Bill 3136 passed both chambers with overwhelming majorities. The legislation has the preemption language of Senate Bill 521, and it also allowed the “Push Tax” to remain in any community that passed it before November 1, 2021. The measure also increased the annual fee that non-Home Rule municipalities can charge on video gaming terminals to $250, up from $25.
The passage of House Bill 3136 prompted a mad dash by dozens of communities throughout the state to get a “Push Tax” on the books before the deadline. Dozens of communities held emergency meetings on Halloween Sunday to push through the tax. The Support Main Street Illinois coalition worked with local business owners to try to stop these threatening efforts and secured victories in Homer Glen, Carterville, and Christopher thanks to the efforts of the Coalition.
Unfortunately, today about one third of the Home Rule communities with video gaming have a “Push Tax” on the books.
WE MUST TAKE ACTION TO STOP MORE COMMUNITIES FROM ENACTING THE PUSH TAX.
- Attend City/Village Board meetings
- Speak to your local officials personally
- Call your local city/village board members
Here is a suggested script for calling your alderman/trustee/city councilman:
We are paying our fair share in taxes already. Video gaming is a big part of my local business. We don’t need more taxes especially in light of the year our industry has faced.
Based on revenues and the number of wagers made, the so-called “Penny Push Tax” would significantly raise taxes on video gaming across the board. If communities are permitted to enact their own taxes; it will result in a competitive imbalance that will hurt local my business, drive away my customers and will reduce the value of the industry to the State. Please do not enact this harmful tax.”
Together we can protect our industry from excessive and unnecessary taxation!