What makes video gambling machines alluring for those who love a quick game or two is that it is actually accessible to many. Given your access to games, it is quite hard to say no. And could this actually be hurting the traditional casino business? For the regulators, it seems that it is actually the case.
And for this reason, Aurora is recently looking at the possibility of limiting the number as well as the locations of video gambling terminals.
City Clerk Wendy McCambridge has presented her recommendations that could change the two city ordinances and limit the number of gambling terminals and also the places where these gambling terminals are located.
The suggestions were brought forward at the Committee of the Whole meeting. This came after a study was conducted by McCambridge and her city staff. The study was conducted during the time when a moratorium was observed on awarding new video gambling licenses.
Mayor Richard Irvin mentioned that “We’re trying to strike a balance where we don’t hurt our (casino), but we’re not forbidding companies coming in and applying for video gaming”.
The Purpose of the Moratorium
The purpose of the moratorium last September to stop providing new video gambling licenses was quite simple. Its purpose was to study the effect of the newer form of legal gambling to the traditional riverboat gambling casinos. One notable casino included in the traditional riverboat gambling casinos is Hollywood Casino which has been around Aurora since 1993.
Irvin wanted to protect the casinos. In fact, despite the fact that casino revenues dropped from $15 million in 2006 to just around $7 million in 2017, the income coming from casinos is still much larger than what video gambling brings to the table. Video gambling only gave $339,056 in revenue last year.
However, it was in 2017 when statewide, video gambling was bigger than the revenue of casino gambling. Just how affected are the casinos? In a study that was conducted by Illinois Casino Gaming Association, from 2013 to 2014, there was a decreased admission on Illinois based casinos by 1.4 million.
The Mayor, however, mentioned that “We get millions of dollars from the casino, we get thousands from video gaming”. He added that “We’re talking about a cap until we’re sure it’s not hurting our bread and butter”.
Is This the Right Decision After All?
There are 147 video gambling terminals that are found in 34 establishments within the city. Aurora decided back in 2012 to tie the video gambling law together with its liquor law. This means that the places with liquor licenses are eligible to set their video gambling terminals. However, it is a separate license.
Given the existing rules, the maximum number of terminals can reach up to 370 in 74 establishments. However, with the proposed changes in the city, there will only be a limit of 200 citywide terminals. And also, per location, there will be no more than five terminals in one place.
In addition to this, video gambling terminal will not be allowed within half-mile apart from each other. And lastly, it will only allow one video gambling for each shopping plaza.