President Preckwinkle Announces Adjustment to Proposed Tax on Gambling Machines

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today announced an adjustment to her proposed tax on gambling machines by creating a two-tiered system. The tax rate would be $1,000 per electronic gambling device, such as a slot machine, and $200 per video gaming terminal, such as a video poker machine. The Gambling Machine Tax will continue to be paid by the machine owner. After discussions with local businesses and Commissioners, President Preckwinkle decided to create a tiered system, taking into consideration the potential daily revenue of machines and the impact they have on public health and safety in Cook County. There are currently more than 1,000 gambling machines in Cook County. Additional machines are expected to come online as licenses are approved under the Illinois Video Gaming Act. As of October, 47 establishments in the county have been licensed and more than 300 additional applications are pending approval from the Illinois Gaming Board. In its most recent disclosure, the Illinois Gaming Board reported that the gambling machines at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines averaged more than $800 in revenue per day. “We plan to tax them a little more than one day’s revenue,” President Preckwinkle said. “It’s a small price to pay to help with the impact on crime, health and addiction. And we’ve reduced the impact on smaller mom and pop establishments.” The additional revenue generated by this tax will help the County invest in public safety and criminal justice services to combat the negative impacts of compulsive gambling and other gambling addictions. The revised proposal also would move the effective date of the proposed tax back to June 1, 2013, a move aimed at giving the Illinois Legislature an opportunity to make any revisions to the recently-enacted gaming law, including the possibility of locating a casino in Chicago. While I have historically opposed gambling expansion and a Chicago casino, I share President Preckwinkle's belief that Cook County government should receive a portion of any proceeds that result from gaming activity within the county, said Commissioner John Fritchey (D-12th). Pushing back the implementation date of the tax provides the General Assembly with the opportunity to give Cook County its fair share of gaming revenues while giving us the ability to potentially modify or rescind the tax if they do the right thing in Springfield. “This proposal will give the county additional resources to address compulsive gambling behavior without putting local businesses at risk,” said Vice-Chairman of the Finance Committee Deborah Sims (D-5th). Payment of the Gambling Machine Tax will be evidenced by receipt of an emblem or sticker issued per device per year by the Department of Revenue, which will be responsible for enforcement along with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. This potential new source of revenue is expected to generate $1.2 million in FY2013.