Video Gaming Machines Grow Popular After One Month

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STATELINE (WIFR) -- It's game on for some Stateline business owners as video gaming machines went live last month. 23 News checks with local businesses to see if they were worth the wait.

“It's like this is the strip in Rockford, it's not Vegas, but it's like a strip.” Betty Castle has been a regular at Opsahl's pizza for 40 years, and one month into it offering video poker machines, she says she's hooked.

Evident-ally, so are other customers. “Sometimes you might have to wait to play a game here because there's people wanting to get on them before you."

Tyler Voorhees loves the machines are crowded. He owns Rockford Billiard's Café, one of 6 Rockford businesses that have gaming machines.

“It's been pretty good, it's been drawing a lot of different people in people that we wouldn't never seen before," said Voorhees.

Voorhees says the machines are more popular with more experienced players. "I’m definitely seeing an older crowd come in that are just enjoying playing the games and they're not necessarily looking for a night club atmosphere," said Voorhees.

Although the gaming machines bring more business, Voorhees says it's unpredictable.

"Some days you'll be busy all afternoon and kind of slow all night. Some days you're busy all night and slow all afternoon,” said Voorhees. And as long as people are drinking and eating, Voorhees says that's even more money invested in the community.

Businesses get to keep about 35% of money customers spend on the machines, with the government mostly getting to keep the rest.

Since the video gaming machines have been turned on, other restaurants like Capone’s Eatery in Loves Park have extended their hours. That’s to allow people to play even after the restaurant closes.

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