Let’s say you’re a bar or restaurant owner and you’re always trying to think of new ways to improve your small business. After some research of similar bars and restaurants in the area, you come across a restaurant a few towns over that was once struggling but is now doing better than ever. You may go visit this restaurant for lunch and walk around a bit to check it out. You then notice signage for Video Gaming out front. Inside, the place is packed with the lunch rush and there is a line of customers waiting to try their luck at the six Video Gaming Terminals (VGTs) in the brand-new gaming area. You leave the restaurant considering adding video gaming to your own small business.
Adding video gaming to your restaurant may seem like a great way to increase foot traffic and help earn some extra revenue for your location, but after you check out the Illinois Gaming Board website you realize that your municipality has decided to opt-out of permitting video gaming in establishments. Now what?
When it comes to the decision of whether or not to allow gaming in a municipality, there is a wide variety of misinformation being shared. Some municipalities feel that they don’t need the additional revenue from gaming, while others believe there is a “stigma” attached to the gambling industry. Some may even believe gambling is illegal in Illinois. Municipalities that opt-out of gaming miss an opportunity to drive foot traffic to local businesses of all types and generate additional tax revenue.
As a business owner you may already recognize the benefits of having video gaming in your establishment, but now you may have to try to convince everyone else. The best way to have your voice heard by local officials is to attend a monthly Village Board/City Council meeting. You should join forces with other business owners who agree that video gaming is the best choice for your municipality. Some strong advantages to discuss include:
- The opportunity for increased income for local businesses. For some, this can mean the difference between remaining in business or shutting their doors.
- Gaming generates additional revenue for the municipality.
- A municipality that allows video gaming is more attractive to potential new businesses. This can help a municipality grow overall, creating new business in addition to adding gaming establishments.
- Allows your business to compete on a level-playing field with nearby municipalities that are opted-in to video gaming.
Getting gaming approved in your municipality can be a long and tedious process. Persistence is key. Keep at it. If you ever need help, Accel often has representation at these meetings to assist in providing information about the industry. We’re here to help!
When your municipality allows gaming, we recommend being prepared. One thing you can do now is partner with a Terminal Operator (like Accel), so when your municipality opts in to gaming, your location is ready to get started right away. To learn more about the legal requirements for video gaming check out our blog How to Get a Video Gaming License in Illinois.