Bet on Main St. Video gaming supports thousands of small businesses across Illinois Tue, 17 Dec 2019 13:33:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.3 /wp-content/uploads/2019/04/cropped-favicon-32x32.png Bet on Main St. 32 32 Bet on Main Street Coalition Applauds Illinois Legislature, Gov. Pritzker for Listening to Concerns of Illinois Small Businesses and Veterans’ Organizations that Offer Video Gaming /bet-on-main-street-coalition-applauds-illinois-legislature-gov-pritzker-for-listening-to-concerns-of-illinois-small-businesses-and-veterans-organizations-that-offer-video-gaming/ Tue, 04 Jun 2019 16:55:40 +0000 /?p=209 Springfield, IL – Following the Illinois General Assembly’s completion of their legislative work, the Bet on Main Street Coalition applauded lawmakers and Gov. J.B. Pritzker for listening to Illinois small businesses and veterans’ organizations that offer video gaming. After an initial proposal that would significantly raise taxes on small businesses and veterans’ organizations, lawmakers adjusted the policy to make certain Illinois main streets would remain vibrant.

Following the policy’s passage by the Illinois General Assembly, the Bet on Main Street Coalition released the following statement:

“In April, the Bet on Main Street Coalition launched with a simple message for leaders in Springfield: Stand with the locally-owned small businesses and community organizations that have thrived as part of the video gaming industry. The Governor and General Assembly not only listened, they acted.

“This policy is a win for Main Street and the state as a whole. Since the beginning of this endeavor we acknowledged the difficult budgetary choices lawmakers had to make. The budget helps bring much-needed fiscal stability to the state while investing in critical programs that benefit Main Street communities including infrastructure, education, job training and more.

“And most importantly to Bet on Main Street members, it allows small businesses and veterans’ organizations to continue creating jobs, reinvesting in their businesses and making local charitable contributions.

“We want to thank the thousands of employees, small business owners, veterans’ organizations and others who called their legislators, attended events and made their voices heard. Their voices were clearly heard and their efforts helped make this budget a reality.”

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County Journal: Higher Gaming Tax Will Hurt VFW /county-journal-higher-gaming-tax-will-hurt-vfw/ Thu, 23 May 2019 13:14:02 +0000 /?p=203 By Gary Stork

I am honored to serve as the Quartermaster of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2698 in Sparta, and as the chief of staff for the statewide VFW. The VFW is a national non-profit group dedicated to serving those who deserve it most — our veterans — as well as our communities.

Last week I traveled to Springfield to meet with my legislators, who are currently considering a budget proposal from the Governor that would hurt the VFW and other organizations like it.

The Governor’s proposal would raise taxes on video gaming only, singling out small businesses and veterans’ organizations, including VFWs like Post 2698, that offer video gaming in our establishments.

If taxes on video gaming machines go up, it will mean less money going directly to help veterans who rely on our support. It’s a losing equation, especially when you consider that out-of-state-owned corporate casinos and horse racetracks pay a lower tax rate than we do.

The VFW’s important mission hasn’t always been easy. In fact, some years, our chapter was lucky to be able to keep the doors to our headquarters open. But thanks to video gaming revenues, we’ve gone from merely surviving to a thriving Post that can better serve and support veterans who call our community home. That’s why I oppose increasing taxes on video gaming.

Funds generated from video gaming have not only allowed Post 2698 to grow our mission of serving veterans and making sure we remain a place for veterans and their families to feel supported and welcome, they’ve also allowed us to significantly increase our support of the Sparta community. Raising taxes will hurt my post and thousands of other small businesses and veterans organizations that video gaming has helped keep the doors open. And, raising taxes only on video gaming lets horse racetracks and out-of-state corporate casinos off the hook at the expense veterans’ organizations like ours.

Main streets and town squares across Illinois are seeing increases in business and hiring. That’s because there are more than 6,000 local businesses and veterans’ organizations like Post 2698 — VFWs, American Legions, bars, and restaurants  — that offer video gaming as entertainment for its patrons. More people now visit our establishments, boosting our revenues and allowing us to collectively hire more than 30,000 new workers.

Video gaming has allowed struggling veterans’ organizations like ours to thrive in Illinois, but it’s also helped Illinois’ economy to grow. Video gaming has built more than 700 new small businesses to serve the industry, hiring more than 2,000 Illinoisans to build, install, and service machines, as well as develop new software for them. By law, we partner with these terminal operators and split revenues 50/50, which allows them to keep reinvesting in new hardware and software upgrades for our video terminals. Sharing equally in any state-imposed taxes is the only way to keep that revenue stream going strong. And, these terminal operators are mostly Illinois companies, keeping their profits right here in state. Few other industries can say the same.

Video gaming has not only allowed Post 2698 to keep our doors open, it has allowed us to invest in our Sparta community. We sponsor the Sparta DARE program and send a local scout troop to summer camp. We help provide equipment for the Sparta Police Department and contribute to Sparta’s volunteer firefighters. And nationally, we are now able to support the Special Olympics and the American Cancer Society. That’s all in addition to our increased ability to serve the men and women who put their lives on the line defending our country.

Why should we be punished for the good work we do for our community?

Video gaming is already taxed at a higher rate than most of these out-of-state-owned entities. Since video gaming was established in Illinois, video gaming has paid 30 percent in taxes to state and local governments. That’s higher than all horse racetracks and 70 percent of big corporate casinos. In fact, casinos have to earn $75-100 million a year before they pay a similar rate to terminal operators and local small businesses. Video gaming has already paid their fair share in taxes, to the tune of $1.5 billion since 2012, including a record $421.9 million last year.

A tax increase on video gaming will result in negative consequences not just on the services we provide at Post 2698, but on those offered by veterans’ organizations across Illinois. Our state should be doing more to help our nation’s heroes, not less. Veterans kept their promises to us, now we must keep our promises to them.

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Belleville News-Democrat: Bar owners, VFWs upset over Pritzker plan to increase tax on video gaming terminals /belleville-news-democrat-bar-owners-vfws-upset-over-pritzker-plan-to-increase-tax-on-video-gaming-terminals/ Tue, 14 May 2019 05:00:19 +0000 /?p=184 By Joseph Bustos and Grant Morgan

At Crehan’s Irish Pub and Banquet Center in Belleville, the five video gaming terminals brought in more than $196,000 in net income in 2018. The state took 30 percent off the top, leaving about $137,650 for Crehan’s and terminal operator J&J Ventures to split, according to state gaming board records.

Over the years, Crehan’s has been able to use its share of video gaming revenues to give its employees pay raises, renovate the outside of its building, and keep the cost of menu items from increasing, said Barry Gregory, who owns the pub with his wife Patti. The revenue source made it easier for the restaurant to contribute to local charities, events and sponsor local sports teams.

But now the Gregorys are worried about an idea in the governor’s budget proposal to increase taxes on the video gaming terminals.

While no legislation has been introduced, a graduated tax increase on VGTs was proposed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker during his February budget address.

There is a 30 percent tax on video gambling revenue commonly referred to as net terminal income. The remaining money is then split, with half going to the retailer, such as a restaurant or bar, and half to the operator.

Pritzker proposed taxing net terminal income above $2.5 million a year at 50 percent. The current revenue sharing arrangement with local units of government would remain the same, under the governor’s proposal. Pritzker estimated under his proposal the state’s Capital Projects Fund would receive an additional $89 million per year and local governments would receive about $18 million under the alternative tax structure.

“That’s a huge increase,” said Barry Gregory, who was one of several small business owners who were in Springfield recently to lobby against the proposal. “We already pay more in the tax rate than most of the out-of-state casinos. Our money when it’s invested here in the video gaming in the communities comes back to our communities.”

The Gregorys are part of a group called Bet on Main St., an organization of small business owners, which also includes at least three video gaming terminal operators — Accel EntertainmentJ&J Ventures and Tap Room Gaming — as supporters.

On the face of the proposal, it may look like a small mom-and-pop business, which only generates hundreds of thousands of dollars in net terminal income, would not be affected by a graduated tax system on video gaming. But the idea of it still worries Barry Gregory.

“If it starts there, where is it going to stop?” he said. “Once you get your foot in the door, the door can never be closed again. It may not affect me tomorrow, but what about the day after, or the week after, or the month after? Once that rock starts rolling down the hill, it’s hard to stop it.”

WAYS TO GET MORE GAMING REVENUE

Gregory added if the state needs more revenue, it should work toward having the state’s largest city allow gambling. Chicago has an ordinance which bans gambling.

“The simplest way to resolve this whole issue would be to get the city of Chicago involved in the video gaming,” Gregory said. “I think the state legislature needs to make a deal with the city of Chicago to include a casino and video gaming if they want to solve their revenue problems.”

The Illinois Gaming Machine Operators Association has suggested raising the betting limit on single plays from $2 to $4, increasing the maximum winnings on a single play from $500 to $1,199, allowing games with higher jackpots, and increasing the number of gambling terminals allowed at one location from five to six.

Those measures would create $210 million in new tax revenue the first two years without changing the tax rates, the gaming machine operators association said.

“In the governor’s proposed budget he put forth ideas to raise revenue serving as a bridge to the fair tax,” said Jordan Abuddayeh, Pritzker’s press secretary. “From the start the governor said he’s open to negotiations and that’s what the administration is currently doing.”

Play VideoDuration 1:24Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on gaming expansion

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said he thinks a gaming expansion can be used to help balance the state’s budget and help pay for a capital infrastructure bill.By Derik Holtmann

There are more than 30,000 video gaming terminals in almost 6,800 locations around the Illinois.

“Many of the video gaming operations are single site operations while others may be numerous separate LLCs underneath a larger parent entity,” the governor’s budget proposal stated. “These larger entities may be operating hundreds of video gaming machines at scores of locations around the state, yet they pay the same tax rates as the smaller single-site operations.”

Casinos in Illinois, most of which are owned by companies outside the state, have a graduated tax rates starting at 15% and rising to 50%, depending on how much money is made. The state accounts for differing market sizes through the progressive wagering tax.

“Video gaming should do the same,” the governor’s budget book says. “The new structure will require combined reporting of net terminal income at the parent entity level.”

Most of the casinos in the state are owned by larger companies that are based outside of the state.

Discussions on how to increase gaming revenue comes as Illinois considers legalizing sports betting and some municipalities get ready to lobby the legislature to authorize casinos in their communities.

Video gaming terminals were approved in the state as a funding source for the 2010 Illinois Jobs Now! capital plan. The terminals were legalized in bars, restaurants, fraternal organizations such as VFWs and American Legion posts, and truck stops. Establishments are limited to five terminals. After the terminals were allowed, video gaming parlors also began to open up around the state.

NON-GAMBLERS IMPACTED

Randy Rehmer, owner of Waterloo’s Double R Bar, says raising taxes on video gambling will eat at the $70,000 he makes each year off the machines.

Besides bringing more customers to his business, Rehmer says video gambling revenue has helped him remodel the building, hire an extra employee and give his staff pay raises.

“I’ve got nothing against raising the minimum wage, but the state is telling me to pay people more at the same time that it takes money away,” Rehmer said.

Barry Gregory said customers, both those who play gamble on the VGTs, and those who just come for a drink and a meal should care about video gaming tax rates.

“You care what I charge you for that hamburger, or that Pepsi product, or whether it’s Woodford Reserve or Tito’s,” Gregory said. “You care about what you’re paying each time you go into a restaurant or bar. Whatever the case may be. We’re able to hold our line because of the increased revenue there … If you’re living in the community, you’re worried about some of the things like the food pantries … or the Shriner’s hospital.

“It not only affects us directly, but you the customer indirectly.”

https://www.bnd.com/news/local/article230192814.html

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WTAX: Pushback on video gambling tax hike https://wtax.com/news/101101-pushback-on-video-gambling-tax-hike/ Fri, 10 May 2019 13:47:53 +0000 /?p=176 One of Gov. Pritzker’s revenue ideas is not getting much love from those who would pay it – operators of video gambling machines.

Among the places where you can legally gamble in Illinois are veterans’ organizations, such as the VFW in Sparta, in southern Illinois. That group’s Gary Stork (pictured) says a tax increase would be a killer.

“Why should we be punished for the good work that we do for our community?” Stork asked during a Capitol news conference. “Our state should be investing more to help our national heroes, not less. They kept their promise to us. We should keep our promise to them.”

From the Illinois Gaming Machine Operators Association, Ivan Fernandez has this idea: “Increase the bet limit on a single play from two dollars to four dollars. Increase the maximum win on a single play from $500 to $1199. And increase the video gaming terminal limit from five to six per location.”

Fernandez and others in the gambling business spoke to lawmakers this week.

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Bet on Main Street Lobby Day: In the News /bet-on-main-street-lobby-day-in-the-news/ Thu, 09 May 2019 16:38:54 +0000 /?p=171 Hundreds of Illinoisans Rally at Capitol to Stand Up for Main Street, Not Out-of-State-Owned Corporate Casinos

On Wednesday, May 8, small business owners and supporters of the Bet on Main Street coalition traveled to Springfield as part of a Day of Action to oppose a proposed tax increase on small businesses.

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The State Journal-Register: Small businesses opposed to increase in video gaming tax /small-businesses-opposed-to-increase-in-video-gaming-tax/ Wed, 08 May 2019 18:12:20 +0000 /?p=178 By Doug Finke

Doug and Karen Kent run three establishments in Springfield — the Burger Bar, Always After Five and the Sunset Inn.

All three places have an added attraction to the business itself — five video gaming machines to play if you are so inclined.

“It’s been a tremendous uplift for us,” Kent said, especially after the indoor smoking ban went into effect. “That really knocked the wind out of all of our locations. Gaming has been the backbone of all of our businesses.”

But Kent is worried the wind is going to be knocked out of his places again if state lawmakers raise the tax on video gaming machines.

“You’re talking about cutting our income in half,” Kent said. “That income is wages, our improvements, it’s inventory and new menus. There’s just so much we do with that money and we’re very, very dependent on it. To have this kind of a tax increase to me is just insane.”

Kent was attending a news conference Wednesday with the Bet on Main Street coalition, a group of small business owners and veterans’ organizations who have video gambling machines in their establishments and who say they rely on revenue from those machines to keep going.

“Our message to Illinois lawmakers today is simple: When considering tax policy, bet on main street small businesses, not on out of state-owned Wall Street casinos,” said Michael Bond, CEO of Tap Room Gaming, a terminal operator based in Libertyville.

Under Illinois law, video gaming terminals pay a tax of 30 percent on its returns, higher than taxes imposed on casinos or horse racing. That has amounted to $1.5 billion since 2012, Bond said.

Bond also said video gaming has created 700 new businesses around the state and supports 32,000 jobs.

In his budget proposal, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he wants to restructure the tax structure that applies to video gaming, something the administration said would generate $89 million. Pritzker said he wanted to target entities that are running hundreds of machines at multiple locations around the state.

“The governor proposes that marginal net terminal income that exceeds $2.5 million per year be taxable at a 50 percent rate rather than the current 30 percent rate,” the administration’s budget proposal said.

The state takes its cut off the top and then the terminal operator and the business split the rest. Smaller operators in the coalition say they’ll be caught up in the higher tax structure.

“If it goes through it’s going to be very detrimental to us,” said Jimmy Duncan of AMVETS post 100 in Jacksonville. “The AMVETS, like many organizations, was really on the ropes during the recession and afterwards. We nearly closed our doors.”

After the arrival of video gaming, Duncan said, things turned around and the organization was able to build up its clientele. It used funds from gambling to make badly needed repairs to its building and also make charitable donations to the community. Last year, he said, those donations almost hit $200,000.

https://www.sj-r.com/news/20190508/small-businesses-opposed-to-increase-in-video-gaming-tax

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Bet on Main Street Supporters Hold Day of Action; Call on Lawmakers to Oppose Massive Tax Hike on Small Business, VFWs /bet-on-main-street-supporters-hold-day-of-action-call-on-lawmakers-to-oppose-massive-tax-hike-on-small-business-vfws/ Wed, 08 May 2019 15:04:47 +0000 /?p=162 Hundreds of Illinoisans Rally at Capitol to Stand Up for Main Street, Not Out-of-State-Owned Corporate Casinos

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Earlier today small business owners and supporters of the Bet on Main Street coalition traveled to Springfield as part of a Day of Action to oppose a proposed tax increase on small businesses.

Bet on Main Street supporters met with their legislators, calling on them to stand with small businesses over out-of-state-owned corporate casinos when considering any changes to tax policy. Supporters also explained how video gaming has spurred hiring in their local communities as well as provided much-needed revenue for DAV chapters, American Legions and VFW posts, which support Illinois veterans.

“We came to the Capitol today to send a clear message: Bet on Main Street locally owned businesses, not out-of-state corporate casinos,” said Barry and Patti Gregory, owners of Crehan’s Irish Pub & Banquet Center in Belleville, Illinois. “As small business owners, video gaming has not only become vital to us, it’s allowed us to reinvest in our community.  Gaming revenues have made it possible to give our employees several raises, allowed us to renovate our restaurant, sponsor local softball leagues and other community events.  Small businesses reinvest locally, unlike out-of-state casinos, yet our video gaming is already taxed at a higher rate than most of these out-of-state-owned corporations.”

A proposal currently under consideration in Springfield sets out to raise taxes only on video gaming, and not on out-of-state-owned corporate casinos and racetracks. Illinois small businesses that offer video gaming are already paying their fair share in taxes – and have been for years. Bet on Main Street members and advocates believe it’s wrong to single out small local businesses with a tax increase.

Video gaming within Illinois small businesses is currently taxed at 30 percent, while out-of-state-owned corporate casinos pay an average rate of 26.5 percent, and racetracks pay 11 percent. Out-of-state-owned corporate casinos pay a progressive tax rate based on their income. They need to earn $75-100 million a year before paying a similar tax rate as the Illinois-owned small businesses that offer video gaming. 70 percent of out-of-state-owned corporate casinos pay a lower tax rate than video gaming businesses.

“Our state should be investing more to help our nation’s heroes, not less. Veterans kept their promises to us, now we must keep our promises to them,” said Gary Stork, Quartermaster of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2698 in Sparta, Illinois. “Since our local chapter began offering video gaming, we’ve gone from a merely surviving to a thriving Post that can better serve and support veterans who call our community home. Funds generated have allowed us to grow our mission to support Sparta veterans and their families, as well as give back to our communities, like sponsoring the DARE program and contributing to our local volunteer firefighters. Raising taxes on video gaming machines means less money to directly help veterans who rely on us for support. That’s a losing equation. Why should we be punished for the good work we do for our community?”

Since 2012, video gaming has paid $1.5 billion in taxes. Video gaming machine terminal operators and local small business partners are required by law to split all proceeds from gaming 50/50. Any tax hike on video gaming would mean fewer dollars for veterans support organizations and small businesses to invest in their communities.

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About Bet on Main Street

As Illinois-owned small business owners, Bet on Main Street coalition members are committed to advocating for policies that support a thriving local economy. Coalition members are valued parts of their communities that create jobs, reinvest in their businesses and contribute to local charities, nonprofits and community organizations. More information on the coalition can be found at www.BetMainStreet.com.   

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The Daily Line: Video gaming operators to lobby lawmakers against tax hike http://thedailyline.net/chicago/05/08/2019/video-gaming-operators-to-lobby-lawmakers-against-tax-hike/#new_tab Wed, 08 May 2019 13:56:18 +0000 /?p=183 By Hannah Meisel

When Illinois’ video gaming industry went live in 2012, the extra bodies that began filling small taverns, American Legion and VFW halls eventually made up for the business that had slowed when the state banned smoking in nearly all establishments early in 2008.

But video gaming owners and operators this week will mobilize against Gov. JB Pritzker’s proposed increase to Illinois’ 30 percent tax on video gaming terminals, descending on Springfield Wednesday to lobby lawmakers ahead of a Thursday hearing on the tax hike, which Pritzker’s administration is hoping to net $89 million more for the state next year.

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The Southern: Illinois business owners wage preemptive fight against video gambling tax hike /illinois-business-owners-wage-preemptive-fight-against-video-gambling-tax-hike/ Wed, 08 May 2019 13:54:39 +0000 /?p=179 By Grant Morgan

SPRINGFIELD — Randy Rehmer, owner of Waterloo’s Double R Bar just south of East St. Louis, says raising taxes on video gambling will eat at the $70,000 he makes each year off the machines alone.

Besides bringing more customers to his business, Rehmer says video gambling revenue has helped him remodel the building, hire an extra employee and give his staff pay raises.

“I’ve got nothing against raising the minimum wage,” Rehmer said. “But the state is telling me to pay people more at the same time that it takes money away.”

Rehmer joined several other small business owners at a news conference Wednesday morning. He was referring to a possible tax increase on video gambling terminals, which show up in almost 7,000 local establishments across the state.

While no legislation has been introduced, a tax increase has the backing of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who first mentioned it in his late-February budget address.

Companies that own and operate terminals pay a 30 percent tax on video gambling revenue. The remaining money is then split, with half going to the retailer and half to the operator.

Pritzker’s proposal, advocates say, would raise the tax rate to 50 percent, leaving less money for businesses and video gambling operators to collect.

Advocates at Wednesday’s news conference, organized by the small business coalition Bet on Main Street, compared those rates with the tax rates for casinos and racetracks, saying video gambling operators already pay their fair share.

Casinos have a graduated tax rate, with rates starting at 15 percent and rising to 50 percent depending on how much money is made.

In the most recent numbers available from a report by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, taxes on video gaming brought in $351.6 million compared to $311.8 million from taxes on casinos in Fiscal Year 2018.

Local governments, on the other hand, received about $10 million more from casino taxes than video gaming taxes — $80.5 million compared to $70.3 million.

Racetracks, taxed at 11 percent, brought in a much smaller $12.6 million to both state and local governments in calendar year 2017, the latest numbers available.

https://thesouthern.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/illinois-business-owners-wage-preemptive-fight-against-video-gambling-tax/article_2fd80987-e946-5897-af55-18f08cc44846.html

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The State Journal-Register (Guest View): Raising video gaming tax unfair to small businesses /the-state-journal-register-guest-view-raising-video-gaming-tax-unfair-to-small-businesses/ Sun, 28 Apr 2019 15:16:20 +0000 /?p=155 Legislators in Springfield are considering a budget proposal from Gov. J.B. Pritzker. There are many challenges facing our state, and we know that Illinois needs additional revenue to help solve those challenges.

I’m the former American Legion Post 120 Commander. Our organization is committed to serving veterans and youth in the Effingham community. The current proposal would raise taxes on video gaming only, singling out small businesses, including American Legions like Post 120 that offer video gaming in our establishments.

American Legions like mine are already paying our fair share of taxes. We’ve benefited from the tens of thousands of Illinoisans enjoying video gaming at our establishments, which has allowed us to hire more workers and invest in our communities. Raising taxes on video gaming will hurt Post 120, and thousands of other American Legions, VFWs, and small businesses. And raising taxes only on video gaming and not on racetracks or corporate casinos — most of which are owned by out-of-state companies — is simply not fair.

Main streets and town squares across Illinois are seeing increases in business and hiring. That’s because there are more than 6,000 local establishments like Post 120 — bars, restaurants, American Legions, and VFWs — that offer video gaming as entertainment for its patrons. And those establishments have become more popular, boosting our revenues and allowing us to hire more than 30,000 new workers.

When I led American Legion Post 120 in 2018, we generated more than $26,000 in revenue by offering video gaming. Those funds were crucial to our Post. It allowed us to provide much-needed assistance to veterans in Effingham at a time when the veteran population is aging and enrollment in veterans’ organizations is declining. Video gaming helped us keep the doors open and allowed us to make a difference in our community.

The additional revenues establishments received from video gaming have also allowed us to invest in communities. Last year, we sponsored senior and junior baseball leagues, provided scholarships to Boys State and Illinois State Police youth camp, maintained the Veteran’s Memorial on the courthouse square, and donated money to Girl Scouts, Camp New Hope, and the Special Olympics. Other local small businesses across Illinois are making similar investments.

The addition of video gaming has also created new small businesses, hiring more than 2,000 Illinoisans to build, install and service machines, as well as develop new software for them. More than 700 new small businesses have been created to serve the industry. And, all these businesses are mostly Illinois companies, keeping their profits right here in state. Few other industries can say the same.

Since video gaming became a reality in Illinois, terminal operators and local businesses have paid $1.5 billion in state and local tax revenues, including a record $421.9 million last year. Out of the different forms of gambling, video gaming already pays the highest rate at 30 percent. That’s higher than the average tax rate of 26.5 percent out-of-state owned corporate casinos pay and 11 percent racetracks pay. Casinos have to earn upwards of $75 million to $100 million a year before they pay a similar rate to terminal operators and local small businesses. We have been part of the solution for years, growing the tax base for our local communities and paying our fair share.

Local small businesses are committed to investing in Illinois. It’s unfair that the General Assembly is singling out main streets the hardest at a time when we agree we should be supporting local small business owners and organizations doing good in the community.

Video gaming supports thousands of local establishments. A massive tax hike when we’re hiring more workers, giving back to our communities, and growing the local tax base is the wrong approach to raising revenue in Illinois. That’s nothing to gamble with.

Dave Mahon is sheriff of Effingham County and the former Commander of the American Legion Post 120.

https://www.sj-r.com/opinion/20190428/guest-view-raising-video-gaming-tax-unfair-to-small-businesses

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