‘It feels like Las Vegas’: Video gambling hits Southland
BY CASEY TONER firstname.lastname@example.org October 9, 2012 2:06PM
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
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
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.”