Average daily revenues for South Dakota video lottery terminals (VLTs) jumped almost 30 percent after slot-style line-up games were added to the traditional poker, blackjack and keno menu. The South Dakota Lottery Commission approved the games in 2011; they went online in December 2011. There are currently more than 1000 new-style VLTs and about 8000 legacy machines.
This revenue increase for operators is welcome news following a steady decrease since the 2009 statewide smoking ban. The South Dakota Senate recently rejected new legislation which would have increased both betting limits – from $2 to $5 – and the legal number of machines per location.
Meanwhile, old local laws may haunt hundreds of Illinois jurisdictions, as the state’s 2009 Video Gaming Act (VGA) faces another stumbling block that could impact Illinois amusement operators.
Statewide chambers of commerce report that the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) might back away from decades-old local ordinances barring all gambling activities throughout Illinois, preventing VLT installations. Some believe that the VGA supersedes all local ordinances, claiming it includes everyone unless they opt out of the programme.
But mayor Rahm Emmanuel opposes the VLT programme in Chicago, Illinois’s most populous and potentially most profitable VLT market. Despite the VGA, the city council has legitimised its earlier gaming bans.
Illinois lawmakers may need to amend the VGA to permit all jurisdictions to participate if they do not specifically opt out. With the new regime scheduled to launch this fall, some 152 jurisdictions statewide have already rejected it. Governor Pat Quinn, who originally signed the VGA into law, has stated he could now advocate opposite legislation, barring VLTs unless a town opts in.
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