The Village of Oak Lawn Board of Trustees voted to approve an ordinance increasing fees on video gaming terminals, effectively doubling the cost for the businesses operating the gambling machines.
Currently, 190 gaming terminals are licensed by 13 operators to 39 establishments in Oak Lawn. By increasing the per terminal fee, the Village expects to receive over $50,000 in additional revenue annually.
Prior to approving the new ordinance at the April 25th, Board meeting, the Village levied a fee of $215 per gaming terminal and $1,025 per operator. That meant the Village levied $40,850 in per-terminal fees, and $13,325 in per-operator fees, for a total of $54,175 annually.
The new fees will be $500 per machine and $1,000 per operator. That means the Village will levy $95,000 in per-terminal fees, and $13,000 in per-operator fees, for a total of $108,000 annually.
In addition to the fees, Oak Lawn makes a percentage off the gambling income. 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. So far this year, Oak Lawn has made $167,690 off video gaming machines.
This change in fees may come as a bit of a shock to some businesses, who may also pay up to $3,200 annually for their liquor license. Liquor licenses are a prerequisite in Oak Lawn in order to have gaming terminals.
For an establishment like Petey’s Bungalow, those fees may take a noticeable bite out of their profits. Petey’s saw only $3,600 in gaming income for the month of March. That money, as well as the fees, get split by Petey’s and the machine operator, Gaming & Entertainment Management. The new fees come out to a 2% reduction in profits.
Some residents, meanwhile, would like fees increased substantially, or for video gambling to be eliminated entirely. These residents feel that these machines prey upon members of society who are prone to addiction. They also believe gambling attracts crime. No correlation between video gambling machines and crime rates has yet to be proven.
The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to pass the ordinance, without discussion.