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‘It feels like Las Vegas’: Video gambling hits Southland

Jim Devenney 54 Tinley Park reacts as he scores wwhile playing video gambling machine Cindy's Pub Oak Forest Tuesday October

Jim Devenney, 54, of Tinley Park, reacts as he scores a win while playing a video gambling machine at Cindy's Pub in Oak Forest Tuesday, October 9, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media

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Licensed for gambling

Licensed establishments in the Southland as of Tuesday; not all had machines installed yet. Dozens of other Southland establishments have licensing applications pending with the Illinois Gaming Board.

Bambino’s Family Restaurant, 37 E. 34th St., Steger

Beecher AMVETS Post 67, 528 Gould St., Beecher

Chino’s Pizzeria, 8356-58 S. Roberts Road, Justice

Chris’ North Side Inn, 12431 S. Western Ave., Blue Island

Cindy’s Pub, 5230 W. 159th St., Oak Forest

D & D’s Tap, 14401 Sherman Ave., Posen

Dan “D” Jac’s, 9358 W. 171st St., Orland Hills

Davern’s Tavern, 8527 W. 79th St., Justice

Doc’s Lounge, 13430 S. Cicero Ave., Crestwood

Duett Bar, 8348 S. Roberts Road, Justice

The Forge, 3400 W. 127th St., Blue Island

Fritz’s Saloon, 225 S. State St., Manhattan

George’s Place Bar & Grill, 15745 S. Kedzie Ave., Markham

Glenwood Oaks Restaurant, 106 N. Main St., Glenwood

The Hideaway, 13404 Olde Western Ave., Blue Island

Ignorant Bliss, 1338 Main St., Crete

Jack’s Bar and Grill, 436 W. 34th St., Steger

Jesse’s Tavern, 10501 S. Ridgeland Ave., Chicago Ridge

The Krash, 7112 S. Harlem Ave., Bridgeview

Lucky’s Drive-In, 16200 S. Cicero Ave., Oak Forest

Mama Luigi’s Restaurant, 7500 S. Harlem Ave., Bridgeview

Marcotte’s Bar & Grill, 15501 S. Cicero, Oak Forest

Murphy’s Law Bar & Grill, 9247 S. Cicero Ave., Oak Lawn

Palos Lanes, 11025 Southwest Highway, Palos Hills

Peotone Bowl & Lounge, 210 N. Second St., Peotone

Que Ball, 7779 Harlem Ave., Bridgeview

Raven’s Place, 13031 S. Western Ave., Blue Island

Riverside Tap, 13351 S. Aulwurm, Blue Island

Scrementi’s, 3760 Chicago Road, Steger

Side Bar 167, 16711 S. Richmond Ave., Markham

Stella’s on State Street, 823 S. State St., Lockport

Source: Illinois Gaming Board

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Updated: November 11, 2012 6:20AM



Game on, Southland.

Video gambling machines finally were turned on Tuesday in 65 Illinois bars and restaurants as the state launched video gambling under a law it passed more than three years ago.

In a statement heralding the long-anticipated start of video gambling, the Illinois Gaming Board said it’s processing license applications for more than 2,200 other establishments, including fraternal organizations and truck stops. Each site must undergo a background check.

Cindy Tucillo, the owner of Cindy’s Pub in Oak Forest, said the five machines in her place were running at 1 p.m. Tuesday. The machines are all digital and each features 18 playable games.

“People are glad it’s here,” said Tucillo, of Orland Park. “I’m very happy and I’m excited and I want people to come out and have fun.”

Oak Forest resident Susan Braasch was one of the customers at Cindy’s who marveled at the machines. While they were already popular by Tuesday afternoon, Braasch said that “it would be like the Super Bowl” later in the day, when everyone got out of work.

“It feels like Las Vegas,” Braasch said.

Nancy Stewart, a bartender at Cindy’s, said the largest payout she had seen by mid-afternoon Thursday was $112 and the smallest was less than a quarter. The demand for the machines reached the point where one of the machines had run out of paper for payment vouchers.

“It keeps rocking and rolling,” Stewart said. “People have been waiting for this day. People have been calling in, asking ‘Is it on yet? Is it on yet?’”

Tinley Park resident Jim Devenney made $30 off the game “Cats,” a slot machine game that matched the pictures of lions and other jungle cats to trigger payouts.

“Winner, winner, taco dinner,” Devenney said, as Tucillo handed him fresh tacos wrapped in aluminium foil. “Look at this -- You got food, you got beer, you got gambling. Oh boy.”

Oak Forest resident Judy McCarthy wasn’t as lucky. She lost $30 on one of the machines but shrugged off the expense.

“If it bothered me when I lose, I wouldn’t play it,” McCarthy said.

Jeff Glover, the manager of Chino’s Pizzeria in Justice, said the restaurant’s three machines came on about 11:30 a.m. Glover said he had just finished mopping when he saw the machines lit up as actual games, instead of with the “out of service” message that had been displayed for weeks. He said the machines were accepting money normally.

The state legalized video gambling in 2009 to help fund a $31 billion construction program to fix schools, roads and other transportation projects. The gambling terminals are allowed at licensed restaurants, taverns, truck stops, fraternal organization posts and other locations where alcohol is allowed.

More than 30 Southland establishments already have been licensed, and dozens more have applications pending with the Illinois Gaming Board.

The 65 locations that went online Tuesday have a total of 278 gambling terminals. Gambling officials have estimated that up to 75,000 machines could be installed statewide within a year.

The state will get 25 percent and local municipalities 5 percent of net income after winnings are paid. The other 70 percent is split by the business owners and the companies that operate the machines.

Gambling officials said 633 cities and counties have enacted ordinances to allow video gambling, and several had to reverse bans on video gambling to take advantage of the potential new revenue.

Hundreds of communities still prohibit the practice. Opposition largely has come from church groups that question how much revenue the machines will bring and worry about the social cost.

Legal battles, bidding glitches and staffing shortages at the gaming board helped delay the arrival of the machines.

Lynn Morris, CEO of Morris Gaming, which supplies terminals to businesses, said the process of implementing video gambling has been slow, but “everyone’s ... over the moon after three years of hard work.”

Contributing: AP



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