Last Friday I had the opportunity to be at the Quincy Exchange Club meeting at the Stoney Creek Inn. It was certainly an interesting meeting with our speaker, Frank Heck, discussing Video Gaming in the State of Illinois and particularly in our area.

In order for Frank and his father, Don, to get a license, they had to prepare a 44 page application to the State Gaming Board. Plus they needed to go through two interviews in front of the board.  Both had to pony up $5000 to get the license and must pay $5000 each annually to maintain it.

The cost of the machines is also out of their pocket at 12 to 15 thousand dollars for each machine. Once a site inspection was completed, they then had to again go through the Illinois State Gaming Board  for approval. The State Gaming Board approves about 250 to 300 new sites each month.

Frank informed the group that no gas station can have video gaming unless they are a convenience store as well. Truck stops are ok if they sell at certain limit of gasoline per month.  The State of Illinois will allow up to 5 machines per site and that seems to be universal except for the City of Quincy who has limited sites to a maximum of two machines though a city ordinance.

Another interesting fact is that the machines are controlled by the State and they are turned on at 5am and off at 1am the next day. If someone is playing a machine and is winning at 12:58am a message will come on the machine saying it is about to be turned off so cash out now. If you don’t, whomever walks in at 5am will get your earnings because the machine returns to where it left off.  Gee, I wonder how many people have had a few too many and unknowingly left some money for the morning crew?

Frank operates 30 machines in the area with an average money intake of $1500 to $2000 per machine.  Video Gaming is a highly regulated business and apparently a growing one in  the state of Illinois as well.