Trustees Vote to Ban Video Gambling Machines

Despite a state law legalizing the installation of video gaming terminals, don't expect to see them in Plainfield.

trustees reinforced their anti-video gambling stance Monday, voting unanimously to amend the village’s liquor ordinance to include a section banning gaming machines from local businesses.

During a Committee of the Whole meeting last month, trustees were vocal in their opposition, despite the fact that Illinois law made it legal for businesses to install video terminals starting Aug. 1.

“This is a bad deal all the way around,” trustee Margie Bonuchi said, while Bill Lamb called video gambling “an unfair form of taxation.”

But Plainfield business owner Vince Athy said the board’s decision will cost both the village and local business owners potential revenue.

“It’s really so similar to the Illinois state Lottery,” said Athy, who owns locations in Plainfield and Oak Lawn. “I don’t see the opposition to it.”

Under the Video Gaming Act, the state collects 30 percent of the net income from each video gaming terminal, with 1/6 of that amount going to the local municipality.

The remaining 70 percent is split between the business and the licensed operator.

“There has to be a licensed machine operator,” responsible for tracking the machines and collecting the proceeds, Athy said.

Prior to Monday’s vote, Athy sent a letter and a PowerPoint document to board members, outlining how much money video gambling terminals could bring the village.

Citing a video gaming impact study, Athy said each gaming terminal could average $126 net income per day. With the state allowing a maximum of five terminals per business and about 40 liquor license holders in Plainfield that could apply to install machines, that could add up, he said.

Prior to the village board’s vote, eight Plainfield businesses — , Fox’s, , , , , The Penalty Box and the American Legion post — had submitted applications with the Illinois Gaming Board to install video gaming terminals.

“At this point, it’s not even possible for a license holder in Plainfield to submit an application” due to the board’s stance, Athy said. “My gut feeling on it is, why turn away any tax revenue?”

Athy said he plans to install machines at his restaurant in Oak Lawn, where the board lifted an ordinance that banned video gambling.

He said he believes video gambling could generate enough revenue to help keep businesses going.

“The amount of turnover in restaurants in Plainfield over the last several years is crazy,” he said.

“The state is allowing it — I don’t see why we need the local authority disallowing it,” Athy said. “ … I’d like to try it and see if it works.”

Other liquor ordinance changes

The amended liquor ordinance made several other changes, including adding language that reduces the definition of a shot from three ounces to 1.5 ounces and barring businesses from serving alcohol outdoors before the start of indoor alcohol sales.

The ordinance also eases the burden of background checks for business owners, requiring them only for owners, while managers would have to submit to background checks only on an as-needed basis.

Vincent Athy August 09, 2012 at 07:14 PM
The demographic studies from States currently operating video poker show the most likely player is between 37 and 70 years old, Female, White, Non smoker, and social drinker. Hardly the "worst type of patron". Regarding restaurants closing; As cited by the National Restaurant Assoc. "The number one cause of restaurant faliure in the United States is undercapitlization." While nothing will save a restaurant from bad food or bad operations, additional revenue can save a start up independant from failure. Not gut feelings but documented facts.
RB August 10, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Thanks Vincent! You provided information i didn't have. My opinion was only based on the my own observation that any place I see these machines I see people that look like they are losing their Social Security check in those games. Now regarding Plainfield restaurants, I still believe food is bad and service not much better. Check the readers choice voting and you will find out people are voting for a Joliet place as "Plainfield's best" and that says a lot about what people think of the options available in this town.
Carolyn August 13, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Video gambling machines are very different from the state lottery. While both types of gambling will be available in our communities, video gambling is much more addictive than the lottery. Video gambling has been called the crack cocaine of gambling. While the lottery may also be addictive for some people, it has never been called the crack cocaine of gambling. It won't be long before communities that approved, video gambling such as Oak Lawn, are very sorry for their unfortunate decision. The only people who want video gambling machines are those who think they will personally profit at the expense of the people.
Frank November 17, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Every business in existence tries to personally profit at the expense of people. Can you show me a single business that exists by not expecting to profit from people spending money there? That's a ridiculous statement. I do not participate in gambling of any kind; that's my choice. For those that do, so be it. Successful businesses satisfy people's needs. Failed businesses go under from not satisfying people's needs. People (be it the business owner or the patron) should be responsible for policing their own behaviors. As long as no laws are beign violated, government should not be involved in dictating how to run a private business or dictating who can patronize it. I'm opposed to gambleng, but if I happen to see someone in their 70's stupid enough to buy $100 per week in lottery tickets or pumping quarters into a slot machine, that's great...they're donating to my children's education fund and as foolish as I think they are, I respect them for that. Government profits HANDSOMELY from taxing people's vices. Thus, government should have the power to hold private businesses to a different standard? That's malarkey.
Pizza Critic March 26, 2013 at 02:45 PM
I get $3.00 Pizzas now at the American Legion, beers for dirt cheap and can play video poker! Why would I go to Fox's Pizza and pub now? They don't have video poker, their food and drinks are way overpriced, and their service is horrible!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »