South Beloit looks to increase video gaming license fee

SOUTH BELOIT, Ill. (WIFR) -- South Beloit is one Stateline city which is looking to cash-in a little more on the popularity of video slots.

They want to hike the license fees for gambling boutiques, which is the term for small video gambling storefront establishments.

"In the best interest of everybody. Not just our establishment, but all of them," says Got Slots manager, Leslie Mahlum, who has been working at Got Slots for a year now.

She says there is a lot that goes into running a video gaming boutique.
"You have your bills for pay for, you have your inventory to pay for," Mahlum continues.

That's why she, along with others who work in these businesses, are leery of the proposed increase of a video game boutique license fee from $1,500 to as much as $15,000 or even $20,000.

This proposal would increase the one-time licensing fee for video gaming boutiques in South Beloit, as well as increase the amount of boutiques allowed in the area.

"i'm a little torn,” says South Beloit Street and Sewer Comissioner, Lori Duffy, “I don't want to see boutiques on every corner. But at the same point, we could use the extra revenue," she continues.

Commissioner Thomas Fitzgerald originally brought the idea to the board.

"I think there's too much money taken out of the cities. People put in a lot of money, and most of the money goes out," says Fitzgerald, who says raising the fee is reasonable because other cities like Roscoe charge $5,000 a year for all of their boutiques.

Last year the city took in over $4,000,000 through video gaming, but only profited about $200,000.

"And I believe that's a very small number for the monies that are spent and then taken out of the town," continues Fitzgerald.

"Everybody is thinking about the money, but they're not stopping to think about the little guys," says Mahlum.