Jax, other municipalities that have video gaming machines not getting money from state

By Gary Scott on July 29, 2015 at 1:17pm

The state is withholding the share of profits for municipalities from video gaming machines while there’s no state budget.

Illinois has gone nearly a month into the new fiscal year without a budget, with no immediate end to the impasse in sight.

The city of Jacksonville saw a little over $200,000 of video gaming revenue last year, according to the Illinois Gaming Board. The revenue appears to be increasing, with about $128,000 already being earmarked for Jacksonville in 2015.

About $31 million has been wagered at the 24 establishments in the city with the machines, with nearly $29 million in payouts this year.

Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard says money received from video gaming goes into the city’s general fund.

“Well, at this time, I disagree with keeping the money over there. It should be distributed. But, I know a lot of things are going on in Springfield, and there’s lines drawn in the sand with the budget process, with the parties and the governor,” says Ezard.

“It really won’t affect the City of Jacksonville at this time. We’re fortunate to have six to seven months reserved. The only thing I can see maybe [it] delaying is maybe a project or two in the capital development area. We need to things to work out in Springfield, and I think when those things get worked out, whatever time it is, we’ll be getting that money back and we’ll move on from there,” he continues.

Other municipalities in Morgan County also see video gaming revenue. For example, South Jacksonville has gotten about $14,000, Waverly received about $12,000, and Meredosia has gotten $7,600 in revenue from wagers made this year.

“I feel for the smaller communities that really, really rely on the money, and when this [gaming] bill was passed, that money was not supposed to be touched, and now it is being touched,” he says.

The governor’s office says businesses with video gambling licenses will still get paid, according to our reporting partners at WICS ABC Newschannel 20.