Chicago Heights OKs video gambling
BY MATTHEW BRUCE Correspondent June 19, 2012 11:50AM
Updated: July 21, 2012 6:17AM
Chicago Heights bet on green Monday as the city council voted to permit video gambling machines in town.
The vote came by a 5 to 0 margin, with aldermen Sonia Perez (2nd) and Sylvia Torres (7th) absent.
The state’s 2009 Video Gaming Act legalized video poker in Illinois at truck stops, lodges, bars and other venues permitting alcohol consumption. The legislation, which was upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court in July, leaves local municipalities with the choice to opt out and ban the video poker machines or roll with the state’s authorization.
With Monday’s vote, Chicago Heights decided to follow the state’s decision. Under the city ordinance, video gaming machines will be allowed at eligible liquor-licensed establishments.
“The practical reality is most of these establishments have poker machines in there anyway,” city corporate counsel T.J. Somer said. “The reality for us is as a city we will finally get revenue from having that licensed properly through the state.”
The state imposes a 30 percent tax on all revenue generated from the licensed machines, and collects more than 80 percent of that windfall for itself. The remaining slice of the tax gain goes into a fund for the local municipality where the gambling revenue occurred.
Chicago Heights officials had no estimates for how much revenue to expect from the gaming machines.