What started out as a good idea now has city officials in Decatur, Illinois searching to find ways to limit the number of locations where video gambling machines are operational in the state, and at 5:30pm today that will be the subject of a study session that the Decatur City Council will address.
Since the state legalized video gaming in 2012, cities across Illinois have benefitted from the gaming, however, lawmakers at that time did not anticipate just how fast it would grow. Statistics from the state gaming board show that 74 establishments across the city of Decatur had a total of 342 gaming machines at the end of April; a number that has grown with every passing month.
In a May report by WAND News I-Team, Councilman Bill Faber stated , “I think it is a terrible policy to run our government off of gambling money.” Echoing Faber was Councilman Pat McDaniel who agreed that the issue should be examined by the city. McDaniel said that some of the establishments are adding bright lights and he doesn’t want Decatur to turn into Las Vegas.
One option the city may consider as a way of keeping the number of video gambling locations contained is increasing the $25 annual licensing fee that the city currently charges for individual gaming machines. From April of last year to the same time this year, the city has received over $1 million from gaming proceeds.
Meanwhile, after allegations of vote-buying were made by Democratic Rep. Rita Mayfield, daily fantasy sports (DFS) operators will have to wait and see if and when DFS legislation is put to vote in Illinois. In April, Rep. Michael Zalewski’s bill to regulate the industry made it through a House committee but was waiting for a full House vote.