Money being fed into video gambling machines in Crestwood will, starting next year, be used to help offset the cost to residents who want their kids to play village-organized sports such as baseball, football and soccer.
Plans to refurbish a half-empty strip mall outside Chicago into multiple video gambling cafes have been rejected by Illinois Gaming Board members who questioned it as an attempt to skirt state regulations and create a "back-door casino."
Officials in the small suburb of Hometown — a community of roughly 4,500 people — hoped to create jobs and spur development in a decades-old strip mall that's seen businesses leave. The proposed casino parlors, each with its own gambling terminals, would operate separately, but be located under the same roof.
Board members voted unanimously at Tuesday's meeting to reject video license applications for three operators involved.
Given the state’s dire fiscal situation, the conversation around gaming in Illinois is as critical as ever. One of the most important points in this debate should be the meaningful results that video gaming has achieved for the state and municipalities since 2012.
As of April 2015, the video gaming industry has generated $315 million for the state and $63 million for municipalities. At the state level, these revenues help fund vital capital projects. For towns across Illinois, video gaming revenues allow leaders to hire police and fire personnel, fix deteriorating infrastructure, allocate additional money for resident services and just help pay the bills. In February, one local leader said video gaming revenues could help his town build a little league field for kids to play ball close to home.