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Illinois Gov. Defends VLTs; Opt-Out List Reaches 50; Betson Pacts With WMS

by Staff Reporter
Posted On: 1/3/2010

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Illinois Coin Machine Operators Association, amusements, amusement machine, coin-operated machines, amusement devices, video lottery terminal, VLT, Betson, Betson Midwest, machine distributor, WMS Gaming, WMS Industries, open house, Todd Cravens

SPRINGFIELD, IL -- The number of jurisdictions that have voted to opt out of participation in Illinois' planned video lottery market has now reached 50, according to The Chicago Tribune.

The paper also said Gov. Pat Quinn continues to defend legalized video gaming, but his defense is a bit less ringing than before. On Dec. 28 the Trib paraphrased Quinn as having said: "It's too early to throw in the towel on video gambling as a revenue source." The governor also admitted that if enough jurisdictions vote to ban video pokers, "it may be necessary to replace those projected revenues in future years."

Quinn signed the Video Gaming Act in July, paving the way for operators to install an expected 40,000 or more video lottery terminals starting in late 2010 or early 2011. Tax revenues from the machines are part of a $30 billion fundraising plan.

Illinois Gaming Board chairman Aaron Jaffe gave the industry another black eye in the press this week. In a report in The New York Times, Jaffe said the Video Gaming Act was "filled with loopholes" and that he is "very apprehensive about organized crime." Jaffe added: "We'll try our darnedest but, in all probability, it will be impossible to keep the mob out." The IGB official blamed corrupt police and his own limited staff for the state's supposed inability to run a clean poker market.

The Illinois Coin Machine Operators Association, which lobbied for the Video Gaming Act, has consistently and strongly denied assertions that organized crime will be involved in legal video gaming.

After Jaffe said last week that operators who had been prosecuted or fined for running gray area machines would be barred from running legal VLTs, one prominent Illinois industry member told VENDING TIMES: "I have determined that anything with the IGB is ambiguous, arbitrary and overall, frustrating."

Betson Midwest To Rep WMS VLTs In Ill.; Sets Open House

BENSENVILLE, IL -- Betson Midwest, a division of H. Betti Industries Inc., said it has entered into a distribution agreement with WMS Gaming Inc. The Video Gaming Act requires that all video gaming terminals be sold through authorized equipment distributors.

Betson Midwest's Todd Cravens said that having both the distributorship and WMS located in state provides a significant advantage for customers, enabling the suppliers to meet customers' needs quickly and efficiently.

Betson Midwest and WMS will host an open house on Jan. 19 and 20, from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on both days, at WMS's corporate headquarters at 800 South Northpoint Blvd., Waukegan, IL 60085. Each day will include a look at WMS' available gaming products, a plant tour, hardware demonstration, slot math and product strategy overview, financing opportunities and a market update. Interested operators can send an RSVP by Jan. 15 to Julie Kill at (630) 238-9400, ext. 6200, or

Separately, WMS announced this week that it will release fiscal 2010 second-quarter results after the market closes on Tuesday, Jan. 26. The company said that gaming operations continue to achieve solid performance and anticipate a rise in year-over-year revenue per day per participation machine and the average installed base in the December 2009 quarter. Revenue growth for fiscal 2010 is expected to reflect new market opportunities, further anticipated worldwide market share gains and the high level of customer interest for products unveiled at the G2E industry trade show in November.