Peoria bar owners weigh costs of having video gambling

By Audrey Williams

January 23, 2013 Updated Jan 24, 2013 at 11:15 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- The state of the economy is weighing on some area bar owners as they look at the possible benefits of adding video gambling.

Mary Motteler, co-owner of the Recovery Room on Pioneer Parkway, has had video gaming machines up and running for almost a week now.

In addition to state fees, the City of Peoria has imposed its own fee of $250 for the first machine and $50 for each additional, a compromise with business owners from the original flat $500 fee.

Motteler said she is not sure why the fee needs to be so high with the state already tightly regulating and the city receiving 5-percent of the revenue.

"I'm not sure what the city is going to be doing with the machines. I mean, I wouldn't think we would have any more trouble over the machines than you would a pool table or a dart game or anything else, so I did not understand where the cost was going to be," she said.

Larry McEnroe doesn't think video gaming will be a silver bullet to help his business, Katie McButt's on Knoxville. He said he is still deciding if all the fees are worth the investment.

"I'm leaning that way, but again, I don't look at this little place here as becoming a gambling Mecca. I hope it's something that will put a few extra bucks a month in our account," said McEnroe.

As an example, state figures reveal that a tavern in Hudson, Illinois with five machines was producing $4,000 monthly for the tavern owner and the Terminal Operator.

Peoria city officials say they will review the fee at the end of the year based on the machine revenue.

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