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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.

Sheila Raddatz August 08, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Interesting......I wonder how long the Village will allow "Hookah" equipment to be sold at a Shell gas station......
Jessica Hannan August 08, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Considering the proven success Vince Athy has experienced as a small business owner and the solid research he has provided to the Board of Trustees, I would have hoped the Trustees would have given this issue more careful consideration. Our kids no longer have art class, they have "art on a cart". Teachers - the ones that still have their jobs, anyways - are using their meager salaries to supplement their classrooms with learning materials. We have no centralized Park District. (Has anyone been to Romeoville lately?) ...and as the article points out, restaurants are going under at an alarming rate in our town. An unfair form of taxation would be if Mr. Athy charged his patrons an extra 5% on their bill because HE chose to put gambling machines in his restaurant. If Joe or Jane Smith bellies up to the bar and puts their last $20 into the machine, they are responsible for that action, and the consequences that arise from it. I, at my ripe old age of 37, am finally understanding why people become disenchanted with government in general. We don't need to be saved from ourselves. I wonder, if put to a vote, what the residents of Plainfield would decide about the issue. I for one, think it would be largely beneficial to a town that desperately needs the tax revenue...
Lisa S. August 08, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Why does the Village seem to be on the wrong side of every issue lately...the one oppostie the people who live here and pay taxes? I was digusted when they purchased Bacci. More so when they sank more money into it. Now we could be making money off something that other Villages are going to provide, and that hurst no one...but no. 1/6th of 30% over time is a whole lot of money.
Brandon Andreasen August 08, 2012 at 09:22 PM
If you live in the Village of Plainfield, you can do something about it. Three of the six village trustees, along with the Mayor, are up for re-election in April 2013.
RB August 08, 2012 at 10:04 PM
In this one case I agree with the trustees. These video game machines attract the worst type of patrons and my gut feeling is that the revenue it can bring doesn’t outweight the issues created by attracting them to this town. Let them go to Joliet where they call feel at home. Regarding restaurants closing, they close because there is not enough people circulating in the village and because in most cases their food is no good. Unfortunately when I want to go to a restaurant I find much better options at Naperville, Bolingbrook and even Oswego.
silentrippy August 09, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Lets raise water bills, gas tax, sales tax, garbage bills, and property tax and stick it to the homeowners. But whoa....no video gambling? An "unfair form of taxation" and "this is a bad deal all the way around" are how the Trustees see it. The state is broke, the village is broke, and so are those who don't gamble. Obviously, liquor and cigarette taxes must be unfair too since the are both addictive. The bad deal all the way around - as Bonuchi puts it - is the Village Board all the way across the board.
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!

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