The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

February 10, 2013

Gambling cash no sure thing


DANVILLE — While Danville officials continue to wait … and wait … for the General Assembly to decide whether the a casino license is in the city’s future, the expansion of gambling lawmakers did allow already shows promise for businesses and local government.

The early statistics associated with video poker machines, however, should come with a word of caution.

Initial response — and revenue — associated with the video games looks good. Local businesses can put up to five of the machines to work fot them.

The business, machine owners, and state and local governments split the money the video games bring in. State government receives 30 percent of the take, with 5 percent of that going back to local government.

As reported elsewhere in today’s Commercial-News, the first full month of the machines’ operation show the potential for significant revenue.

Once all of the businesses requesting a gambling license have their machines up and running, however, the novelty of them is sure to wear off. The number of machines could dilute revenue for businesses, and, if the public’s interest wanes, there could be less money for all involved.

Officials in Hoopeston and Danville have approached the onset of video gambling the right way. They consider any new revenue from the machines to be extra money and have not built it into their budgets.

That’s a good way to protect themselves should the popularity of the machines fall off.

The addition of video poker machines will bring in some new cash, attract visitors from Indiana — where the practice remains illegal — and will be a benefit. But the machines will not be a magic remedy that will cure everyone’s financial ills.