The number and location of video gambling terminals (VGTs) could be reduced in Aurora, Illinois. This week, a number of recommendations in terms of VGTs have been made by City Clerk Wendy McCambridge. The proposed changes include putting a cap on the overall number of video gambling terminals, and also reduction in their concentration.
The proposed changes were brought to the latest meeting of the Committee of the Whole earlier this week, with them being made after McCambridge and officials carried out a six-month study. At the time of the study, the city of Aurora has faced a moratorium on permissions on new VGT licenses.
The city’s Mayor, Richard Irvin, explained that the local authorities were trying to find a balance, in order not to hurt the local casino industry and without banning new companies from filing applications for video gaming licenses.
New VGT Rules Proposed in Aurora
September 2017 saw the City Council of Aurora enact a temporary prohibition on VGTs in order for the six-month study to be carried out. The study had been primarily focused on the effects which this gambling form is having on the riverboat gambling casinos which have been traditional for the city.
Mayor Richard Irvin revealed that despite the fact that a steady casino revenue decline has been registered, the Hollywood Casino that was established in 1993 in Aurora still brought to the city larger revenue than the one contributed by video gambling in 2017. The casino revenue in Aurora declined by more than 50% in a little more than a decade. When it comes to the video gambling revenue, VGTs brought to the city a total of $339,056 in 2017.
On the other hand, Mayor Irvin explained that for the first time in 2017, local video gambling terminals brought in larger revenue to the city than the one contributed by casino gambling. However, according to the mayor of Aurora, a temporary limit must be imposed on the number of VGTs in the city, as well as on their density, at least until the city authorities make sure that the local market would not be hurt by video gaming terminals.
For the time being, there are 34 establishments which offer a total of 147 video gambling terminals. In addition, video gambling regulation has been given to local jurisdictions, so the city of Aurora made a decision to make its liquor laws tighter in 2012. That is exactly why only establishments which already own liquor licenses are permitted to apply for a separate video gambling license.
Under the new rules, Aurora could see as many as 370 VGTs go live in a total of 74 establishments, as revealed by researchers. The proposed cap on video gaming terminals’ number would limit them to 200 in the city. Also, establishments would be allowed to offer no more than five VGTs to their customers, with terminals also being prohibited within a half-mile of a venue that already offers video gambling.
The license fee value is also planned to be increased from $100 to $300 on an annual basis. The terminal distributor fee would also be boosted from $1,000 to $1,200.