The Daily Herald's recent editorial and news coverage on gaming failed to acknowledge the benefits of video gaming for Illinois, including how it will bring significant revenue to local municipalities and vastly improve state gaming laws.
While video gaming will be present long after initial capital projects are completed, it is critical to acknowledge that video gaming is already here; operating in thousands of locations across Illinois without regulation or oversight and illegally.
The greatest strength of the Video Gaming Act is its enhanced accountability and oversight. If criminal activity is a concern, then there is no question that the new system will be an improvement over what we have today. It will set clear standards that will help law enforcement officials crack down on illegal gambling and better track gaming revenues.
Under the VGA, local municipalities also receive 5 percent of revenues to be used to fund local projects and priorities of their choosing. At a time of significant budget cuts and reduced services, these funds are needed in many Illinois cities and villages.
The Daily Herald asserts that many communities have already chosen to opt out of the program, but a mere 80 communities out of nearly 1,200 local governments have chosen to opt out -- a little more than 6 percent. As municipalities have learned more about the Video Gaming Act and how it can benefit their community, fewer municipalities have opted out over time.
The VGA is certainly not a "short-term patch." It's a real source of revenue for struggling municipalities -- just like any other business. No matter what your position, it cannot be ignored that the VGA offers a viable revenue source and will create a legal, clean, licensed industry that will replace the "wild west" gaming system that currently operates across the state.
President, Fox Valley Building Trades