Fox Lake approves video gambling laws
As soon as the state finalizes video gambling regulations, some Fox Lake businesses will be allowed to purchase operating licenses.
Village officials last week adopted an ordinance allowing taverns and some other businesses to run video poker machines, in anticipation state rules will be ironed out this fall or winter.
"Our guidelines mirror any state guidelines that will be in place for video gambling but opens the door for permits to be issued the second the state gets done with the regulations and starts issuing permits," said Mayor Ed Bender.
Officially, video gambling in Illinois became a law in 2009, but machines have not been allowed to go live while the long regulation process is under way.
Stae gaming board officials recently said the process could be finished as soon as August, prompting Fox Lake officials to put regulations in place.
Bender said each machine will require a $25 annual permit for tavern owners or machine operators. He also said the number of machines allowed depends on the square footage of each establishment and its location compared to schools, parks and other governmental facilities. State law allows video gaming at fraternal or veterans organizations, bars, restaurants and truck stops. License holders must have a separate gambling space supervised by someone 21 or older.
"Overall, there were various concerns by board members about allowing gambling in town, but most trustees did not want to suppress businesses in town from making their own decision," he said. "By allowing gambling in Fox Lake, we effectively allow business owners to make their own decisions on whether they want to have gambling in their building or not."
As many as 15,000 locations statewide are expected to seek video gambling licenses once applications become available later this year, authorities said.
About 150 communities and six counties have voted to ban video gambling within their borders.
Counties and towns that allow gambling are expected to receive 5 percent of the profit from each machine, while the state is expected to receive 25 percent of the profit off each. Owners and terminal operators will evenly split the rest of the money.
Bender said it was unknown at this time how much revenue the village can expect from video gambling.
"Vendors are telling me it could be hundreds of thousands of dollars, but I don't see that as an accurate figure for us," he said. "We won't really know what the draw will be until the games are up and running."