Since January 2013, the Village of Oak Lawn has reaped the financial benefits of video gaming with monthly deposits from the State of Illinois being made for each and every establishment in Oak Lawn that has a license for video gaming.
In Illinois, 5 percent of net gambling revenue goes to the municipality, 25 percent goes to the state, less than a percent pays for system monitoring, and the remainder of the tax is split between the business and the machine operator. While municipalities, such as Oak Lawn, receive the smallest share of the tax revenue, the amount has added up to $622,123.63 for village coffers since January 2013. With video gaming operations growing, it may not be surprising that the lion’s share of the revenue has come since January 2014.
In the March report from the Illinois Gaming Board, Oak Lawn’s share was $38,084.03 for the month. If the amount is annualized, the village can expect about $457,008.36 for the year. In 2014, the village received $351,497.51 for the year and that money was used for general corporate purposes.
Video gaming licenses are awarded by the State of Illinois. In order for a business to qualify, it must serve alcohol for consumption on the premises. Originally, the legislation benefited bars and taverns but has been used by others including sit down restaurants, fast food restaurants, and even a flower shop.
Some cafes have popped up throughout Illinois that have been described as gaming cafes but are qualified to have a video gaming license after a municipality grants a liquor license. Stella’s, which operates in Oak Lawn at 87th and Ridgeland, is an entity that markets to women, over forty years old, who prefer not to gamble in a bar or tavern. At the 87th and Ridgeland location, Stella’s patrons wagered $923,771.67 in the month of March. Oak Lawn received $3,622.88 from the Stella’s gambling revenue.
The Village received the least amount of revenue from Bobush Corporation, which owns and operates SIP Appetizer Bar at 4911 W. 95th Street. The village’s share from that operation was $284.63 in March. The bar has only generated $2,587.69 for Oak Lawn since video gaming began. Unlike Stella’s, which had over $900,000 in wagering in March, SIP customers only wagered $65,242.43.
Other top performing entities, of the current 30 establishments in Oak Lawn, include Les Brothers Restaurant , Jedi’s Garden and Blackhawk Restaurant Group, which operates Penny’s. Neighboring communities also allow video gaming. The Village of Alsip received $14,162.88 for the month of March from its 9 licensed establishments. Bridgeview only received $12,384.86 in March even though it has 12 locations. The City of Burbank received $16,600.38 for 11 establishments in March. The Village of Chicago Ridge has 19 establishments and received $21,030.27 for March. Video gaming hasn’t really caught on with bar and restaurant owners in Evergreen Park. The Village received $1,761.25 from the one licensed establishment. The lone licensee is the American Legion, Evergreen Park Post 854, which generated $1,761.25 for the village.
In the little over two years that video gaming has become popular in Illinois and legalized, municipalities have received over $58 million dollars in tax revenue.