Chicago Ridge raises rates for video gaming machines By Dermot Connolly

  • Written by By Dermot Connolly

After seeing how much money was being spent on video gaming in town, the Chicago Ridge Village Board has decided to raise the fees to businesses for each video gaming machine they have.

“Nobody knew how much would be raised from this when we started it several years ago,” said Mayor Chuck Tokar, explaining why the annual fee per terminal was originally set at $100.

But after reviewing data gathered by the Illinois Gaming Board on the amount of money spent on video gaming, the board agreed unanimously with Tokar’s suggestion that the annual fee per machine be raised to $500.

The mayor said the village can use the additional funds for law enforcement, among other things, because the video gaming is done at places that serve alcohol, where the police typically have to focus more attention.

Trustees Fran Coglianese and Bruce Quintos suggested even raising the fee to $1,000, after Coglianese pointed out that Illinois Gaming Board statistics showed more than $5 million was wagered last year on video gambling in one business in the village.

But when Trustee William McFarland said raising the fees might hurt non-profit organizations such as the Glen Maker American Legion Post 1160, at 10739 S. Ridgeland Ave., and McDonald-Linn VFW Post 177, at 10537 S. Ridgeland, the board settled on raising the fee per terminal to $500. The Oak Lawn Elks Lodge 2254, at 10720 S Central Ave., is the third non-profit in Chicago Ridge with a gaming license.

Village Attorney Burt Odelson explained that non-profits cannot legally be charged a different fee per terminal than other businesses.

“I can’t believe I am the one saying $500 is enough,” said Trustee Andrea Cardin, noting that she has been seeking a limit on video gaming licenses for some time.

When Coglianese brought up the issue of limiting the number of video gaming licenses allowed in the village, Tokar said the trustees could treat them just as they do liquor licenses, which are limited.

Neighboring Oak Lawn had 35 establishments with video gaming licenses in 2015, while Palos Hills had six, Hickory Hills had 14, Worth had 10, and Evergreen Park only has one, the Evergreen Park American Legion Post 854.

Detailed information about the gambling activity at all of the establishments, including the 20 in Chicago Ridge with gaming licenses, is available on the Illinois Gaming Board’s website at VideoReports.aspx.

According to the IGB, Jenny’s Steakhouse, at 11041 S. Menard Ave., was the business that saw most, with $5.49 million in wagering done on its five video gaming terminals last year. Over $5 million was won, leaving a net wagering activity of $463,749.

Just five of the Chicago Ridge establishments with gaming licenses recorded less than $1 million in wagers, with the least amount registered by O’Connor’s Pub & Grill, 5900 W. 111th St., with $21,993 wagered. The $19,278 won left a net activity of $2,715.

The net taxable income, which is roughly the same as the net wagering activity, is taxed at 30 percent, with 5/6 of the money going to the state, and 1/6 to the municipality. So in 2015, Chicago Ridge’s share of the video gaming revenue was $240,778.22.