Wheeling bans electronic sweepstakes machines

  • Wheeling has joined other suburbs, including Arlington Heights, Mundelein and Huntley, in banning electronic sweepstakes machines. This sweepstakes machine was operating at an Arlington Heights business as of May.

    Wheeling has joined other suburbs, including Arlington Heights, Mundelein and Huntley, in banning electronic sweepstakes machines. This sweepstakes machine was operating at an Arlington Heights business as of May. Courtesy of Village of Arlington Heights

 
By Samantha Jacobson
sjacobson@dailyherald.com
Updated 8/23/2019 9:23 AM

Wheeling trustees approved an ordinance Monday prohibiting electronic sweepstakes machines in the village.

The ordinance was approved by a 6-1 vote, with trustee Joe Vito casting the one vote in opposition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Village Attorney James Ferolo said the machines look like licensed video gaming machines and currently are not regulated under the Illinois Video Gaming Act. Operators are not required to share revenues with state or local governments.

Customers play using cash or for free, but instead of giving cash payouts, the machines dispense coupons or gift cards that can be redeemed for products, cash or chances to win prizes with the purchase of a product or service.

Ferolo said proponents often claim that the predetermined value of the gifts cards prevents the machines from being classified as gambling.

Opponents disagree.

"The opponents of these machines believe that the central purpose of buying the gift card is to enter into the sweepstakes and that there's really not an exchange for value that would take this out of the realm of gaming," he said.

Officials say they are not aware of any sweepstakes machines in the village, but they have popped up in other suburbs, including Arlington Heights and Huntley. Those villages, along with Mount Prospect, Mundelein, Niles and Oak Park, are among the communities to ban the machines.

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