Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Video Gaming Cap

The city council voted last night to cap the number of video gaming/gambling terminals at 100. If the remaining applications are approved , the city would have 94 terminals within city limits.

On one hand, I can understand the city's desire to limit the number of these establishments within the city. Much like vape shops, a surprising number of them have sprung up in the past couple of years and they do not enhance the image of the city such as more upscale retail shops would.

However, they do occupy empty retail space and we are likely would reach a saturation level without the cap. I listened to a presentation on casino gambling on Monday and one of the things brought out was the high level of payout required in order to operate legally within the state. Video terminals, if Illinois is similar to Missouri, are required to pay out an average of 89% of the money taken in, meaning that the establishment, unless it has other revenue sources, operates on an 11% gross margin. Not very big when you consider the expenses, even something as minimal as a video parlour, must cover. I would expect, if the city raised or eliminated the cap on the number of licenses, to see an influx of parlours opening up as people sought to get rich quick on them, followed by a quick shake out as the more poorly operated ones closed.

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