Video gaming machines have been popping up in Illinois bars and restaurants for nearly four years. For the most part, the increase in gaming machines and in revenue across the state has been steady.
There are nearly 24,000 video gaming machines in Illinois, and the amount played over the last few years is in the billions of dollars — with a b.
Michael Gelatka, president of the Illinois Gaming Machine Operators Association, says he’s been satisfied with how the process has been regulated. “I think that was the strength of the Illinois model,” he said. “It wasn’t everywhere you can sell lottery. It’s in bars and restaurants.” That has helped businesses facing closure, he says, by offering a seemingly reliable revenue stream.