By Natalie Conrad
Herald Staff Writer
FULTON, Ill. —
Local bars are creating a gambling paradise for those who don’t feel like taking a trip to the casino.
Establishments in Fulton are taking advantage of the new video gambling ordinance passed by the City Council over the summer.
“The purpose is to create more money for the state and local government as well as the establishments,” Triple Play co-owner Doug Pennock said. “Everyone wins.”
While many bars are in the process of getting the machines, Triple Play has five machines up and running with more than 20 games available at each. The bar and bowling alley, located at 1601 Ninth Ave., got the machines on Halloween, and have already had several big winners.
“We’ve had quite a few people coming in to play and some just to check out the new machines,” Pennock said.
Paddlewheel Pizza, 1112 Fourth St., also just received five machines and are in the process of getting them up and running soon. Owner Larry Leonard has been hard at work getting everything in order and hoping to reap the benefits.
“This means huge benefits for us and we’d like to be able to help out the city and state as well,” Leonard said.
State and local governments profit from the net earnings of the machines, along with the business and the gaming provider. The state collects 30 percent of the earnings, and then gives 5 percent to local governments. Businesses like Triple Play receive 35 percent and the gaming company receives 35 percent as well. This is the breakdown of profits according to a representative at Accel Entertainment, the company that is working with Triple Play.
The operation and use of the machines are heavily regulated not only by the state, but also by the vendors that provide the machines. Much like all other forms of gambling, patrons must be 21 or older to use the machines and only establishments with a liquor license can obtain the machines.
Machines must follow hours of operation restrictions, must be concealed and visible to the bartender at all times. Establishments can have a maximum of five machines.
Patrons can win up to $500.
“Instead of travelling out of town to gamble, they can come here and support their local bars and city government,” Pennock said.
Other businesses are forgoing the long process to get their own machines. Johnnie’s Tap, 118 N. Fourth St., is playing the waiting game and hoping to get machines in soon.