On November 15, with all but three members of the 14-member council voting, aldermen voted 8-3 in favor of lifting the ban on video gambling in Batavia, Illinois. And on November 21st the measure was approved by the City Council, according to the Kane County Chronicle.
With the ban now lifted in Batavia, local taverns, social clubs, restaurants, and entertainment venues there can install video gambling machines. The communities of Geneva and Batavia were the last two in Kane County without video gambling, with the machines still being banned in Geneva by way of a 2012 ordinance.
According to the local newspaper, aldermen said they were prompted to vote to lift the ban by requests from local business owners who contend that in order to remain competitive with businesses in nearby communities that offer video gambling, and for the revenue, they need the machines.
In accordance with state law, an establishment is allowed five video gambling machines. A licensing fee may be charged by municipalities for each machine, as well as receiving five percent of the revenue.
Laura Newman, the city administrator, said that if 12 businesses in the community each install five video gambling machines, the city of Batavia could expect an additional $120,000 annually, along with a yearly fee of $25 per machine, according to the report. After payouts, revenue from video gaming is taxed at a flat rate of 30 percent, with five-sixths of the tax proceeds going to the state and the local government receiving one-sixth. The remaining 70 percent goes to the video terminal operators and the establishments.
Among the opposition, Mayor Jeff Schielke said on November 15 that he would not vote in favor of lifting the ban, according to the report.
Meanwhile, back in June city officials in Decatur, Illinois were searching to find ways to limit the number of locations where video gambling machines are operational in the state and that was the subject of a study session that the Decatur City Council addressed. Since the state legalized video gaming in 2012, cities across Illinois have benefited from the gaming; however, lawmakers at that time did not anticipate just how fast it would grow.
Decatur, Rockford, and Springfield are the Illinois cities with the most video gambling terminals, while Cook, Lake, and Winnebago counties have the most machines, according to a report by the state’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.