Illinois allowed businesses to install video gambling machines, just five years ago. Since then, the state has collected more than $300 million in tax revenue. A good chunk of that comes from the city of Rockford.
The city is second in the state for the number of video gaming terminals in use, with Springfield being the largest.
R.B.I’s Bar & Grill bartender, Ashley Domback, says video gaming terminals are widely found at many restaurants and bars across the Stateline.
“I feel like everywhere you turn, there’s a slot machine place,” said Domback.
The Illinois Gaming Board recently released revenue numbers suggest locals are playing more than ever.
Over the first eight months of last year, machines in Rockford netted more than $19 million in profits. The city getting a cut of nearly $965,000. From January to August of this year, profits jumped to nearly $21 million. Rockford’s share went up as well to over $1 million, which is a more than 8% increase year-to-year. Domback says she sees many gamers who spend serious times at the machines.
“[They’re there for] hours… hours,” she says.
Local businesses say the city and state aren’t the only ones benefiting from the video gaming machines. They have also seen a positive trend in their own revenue.
“We have more people come in, walk through, [and] play the slots,” said Domback. “It does help sales go up for the business as well.”
Those who were found playing the video game machines, like Michael Snyder, says he enjoys the excitment.”
“I think it’s just the thrill,” said Snyder.
Cook County and Chicago are the only places in Illinois, that don’t have any video gaming terminals