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Issue Date: Vol. 50, No. 7, July 2010, Posted On: 7/16/2010

Slower Start, Bigger Cashboxes Seen For Illinois VLT

Marcus Webb
Illinois video gaming, Illinois Video Gaming Act, video poker, video lottery terminal, VLT, vending game terminal, coin-op news, Illinois Coin Machine Operators Association, Pat Quinn, Aaron Jaffe,

CHICAGO -- Crain's Chicago Business predicted in a report published June 28 that Illinois's planned video lottery market will not get started soon enough to generate the hoped-for $288 million in taxes for the state's fiscal 2011, which runs from July 1, 2011 to July 1, 2012.

On the bright side, Crain's said the Chicago City Council is close to having a veto-proof majority in favor of VLT legalization. Chicago's participation in the VLT market is considered crucial to the program's success statewide. The Illinois Coin Machine Operators Association, the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers and independent observers reportedly concur in that vote count.

In addition, based on past VLT performance in Oregon and West Virginia, the magazine also said that, once up and running, one machine could realize $200 a day in net profits. That's more than double the current official estimates, which range from $70 to $90 a machine per day after paying winners.

The Illinois Video Gaming Act, passed in July 2009, apportions 25% of VLT revenues to the state, 5% to local government and splits the balance evenly between operators and locations.

Gov. Pat Quinn has neither signed nor vetoed the so-called "trailer bill" that makes it easier for operators to get VLT licenses unless they have been convicted of a gambling offense. An administration official said Quinn is still studying the bill; observers expect him to sign it.

Aaron Jaffe, chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board, predicted that the trailer bill would mean "a licensing scandal in three to five years."

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