The Illinois Supreme Court has ordered the owners of Rivers Casino in Des Plaines to pay around $3 million in back taxes to Cook County. In a separate ruling, they will also have to pay taxes of about $1 million a year on gambling machines goiong forward. In that ruling the state appellate court awarded Cook County approval to collect future taxes on area gambling machines. The Rivers Casino lawsuit between Cook County and Midwest Gaming has been under process for the last three years.
The Cook County Board of Commissioners authorized a video gambling tax in November 2012. It went into force January 2013 and Rivers Casino’s owners sued.
In a statement, Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President said “We are pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision confirming our long-held belief that the county’s tax on video gaming machines is legitimate and lawful”.
A Rivers Casino spokesperson said that while, they respectfully disagree with the court’s ruling they are considering their options.
The count ordinance levied a $1,000 per year tax on video gambling machines as well as a $200 tax on video poker machines. The taxes are to be paid through purchase of a tax stamp, or decal to be prominently displayed on each machine.
The separate appellate court ruling upheld a circuit judge’s decision in another case that the county has a right to impose the tax and it is not pre-empted by a previous riverboat gambling tax. Hundreds of other video poker machine operators had already been tendering the $200 a year fee but complained that it was exorbitant as the law authorizing the machines already allowed a $25 levy per machine to be paid to host cities. The appellant in that case was not expected to ask for a Supreme Court ruling.