OREGON – Video gambling is now allowed in the unincorporated areas of Ogle County.
Reversing its stance from a year ago, the county board voted 17-5 last week to allow video gambling at the 14 establishments that hold county liquor licenses.
Board member Greg Sparrow of Rochelle said the board’s decision last year put rural establishments at a disadvantage, because municipalities in the county had approved video gambling.
“All this will do is level the playing field,” he said.
Board member Dick Petrizzo, of Monroe Center, said he was surprised to see how much revenue was coming in from the gambling machines.
“In my little corner of the world, it looks like people are spending about $200,000 per year on these machines,” he said. “It’s a staggering amount. I’m sorry to see that.”
Board Chairman Kim Gouker said the county ordinance stipulates that at least 65 percent of an establishment’s income must come from nongaming income.
Proceeds from the machines are split among the bar owner, the company that provides the machines, the state, and the city or county of jurisdiction.
The money is collected by the state, which distributes it.
The city or county gets 5 percent, the state gets 25 percent, and the machine provider and establishment get 35 percent each.
The Illinois Video Gaming Act, enacted in 2009, legalizes the use of video gambling terminals in certain establishments that have liquor licenses.
Voting against the video gambling ordinance at the July 15 meeting were Lyle Hopkins of Polo, Dan Janes of Stillman Valley, Patricia Nordman of Oregon, Zach Oltmanns of Stillman Valley, and Ashley Simms of Rochelle.
In related action, the board reduced the number of available liquor licenses from 20 to 15.