Gaming expansion bill to raise slot machine fees

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The city of Rockford played its cards rights and could bring in more revenue because of the Illinois gaming expansion bill.

"Obviously the state needs money. They just keep taxing and taxing and you know when's it going to end?" General Manager at Don Carter Lanes Brad Sommer said.

If the new gaming expansion bill is signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker, Sommer will pay about $1,000 more in slot machine fees a year.

"They have the votes in Springfield to do whatever they want. We have to live with it and just make the best of it," Sommer said.

Right now each of these machines cost $25, but with this new legislation that could go up to $250 dollars.

"It will hurt everybody’s revenue that has these slot machines," Sommer said.

On top of paying higher fees, a casino will create even more competition.

"We have regulars that come in and they enjoy the more quiet aspect of our setting versus a loud casino so we hope we are able to compete in that aspect," Sommer said.

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara explains that within the bill there are some helpful tools to help businesses.

"Right now you can have a maximum of five with the new legislation you can add a sixth machine. On top of that, the maximum bet right now is a two dollar bet and now that's going to increase to four dollars," McNamara said.

"We will definitely keep the machines around. They are good for business and bring in traffic. People eat lunch they have fun gambling and the machines are great," Sommer said.

It is unclear when Pritzker will sign the bill into law, but he says he plans to do it somewhere in Rockford.