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Video gambling revenues growing in North Aurora

Updated: June 10, 2013 2:15PM

NORTH AURORA — Video gambling terminals are producing a small but steadily growing revenue stream for North Aurora.

Since terminals went online Jan. 1 at The Little Red Schoolhouse bar and restaurant, the village has received $3,730 in state gambling tax proceeds, reported Finance Director Bill Hannah. Monthly revenues have grown from $1,090 in January to $1,174 in February and $1,466 in March, according to Illinois Gaming Board records.

So far, The Little Red Schoolhouse is the only one of the village’s 12 liquor license holders to install the state-sponsored machines, even though several other bar owners petitioned the Village Board last summer to not ban them. Trustees approved a ban June 18, 2012, then reversed that decision July 16, 2012.

If all 12 liquor license holders installed the maximum five terminals each, the village could potentially make more than $300,000 per year from its share of state gambling tax proceeds, plus a local $25 licensing fee per terminal per year, then-Village Administrator Wes Kornowske said last summer.

At that time, Kornowske also said the village could levy its 3 percent amusement tax on video gambling terminal profits, but the state has since made that illegal. Trustees Monday approved an ordinance amendment to remove the amusement tax provision for the terminals.

More than 430 communities have joined the state videogame terminal system since it went live in October 2012, state records show, though only a few are located in the Fox Valley. Sandwich and unincorporated Kane County, which have participated since October, have reaped $6,489 and $19,153 in tax revenues so far. Yorkville, which activated terminals in December 2012, has earned $2,299, while South Elgin, which began its program in January, has made $5,927. Aurora, which brought its first terminals online in March, made $814 that month.

Overall, Illinois has taken in $13.6 million in new taxes since the video gambling system opened, of which $2.78 million has been disbursed to local governments based on terminal usage in their areas.

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