Worth the Gamble - a look at video gaming


It doesn't take much...

"I was bored one day and decided to start with a scratch off ticket..."

For the chance at winning to draw you in.

"I won five grand and that is what triggered me to be interested in the sport of gambling."

Wanting something the occupied *more of her time, Quincy resident K.J. Cole switched to slots.

"All the shiny lights, you hear the noises, just like an amusement park, it draws people’s attention," said K.J.

Just how much attention does it draw...

When Quincy officials considered bringing slot machines to town, they weighed the pros and cons.

"There were a lot of concerns about gambling taking over people’s lives, addiction, and things like that," says Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore.

The other big concern....

"The people playing machines before this most likely went across the river and spent their dollars elsewhere," adds Moore.

After a long debate, the city said yes to slots.

The decision was to allow two machines per business. Illinois law allows up to five machines.

"Now we control our own destiny if we ever do want to go to three or five but we can do it in a very logical, methodical, way," Moore explains.

When you see or play a gaming machine you may question where all the profits go.

Let’s follow the money…

The business gets 35 percent, the machine company receives 35 percent, 25 percent goes to the state, and the city of Quincy…well they only gets 5 percent.

"It's kind of saved our neighborhood bars and restaurants. Some of those smaller mom and pop restaurants and bars, it's keep them open for business," Moore said.

In fact, the Illinois State gaming commission reports shows some of these businesses can pull in hundreds to thousands of dollars a month.

"It provides an extra income stream to the city, the facility owners, it’s just an offset income side stream that helps pay for renovations, taxes, the cost of business in general," says Trevor Beck, the owner of Winners Wash and Lounge.

When it comes to the city's profit, they take in about 250-thousand a year.

Money that benefits the city’s workers.

"When we get extra money in, money we didn't account for, let's throw that on that police and fire pensions. This year we made some gains in the percent of funding for those pensions," says Moore.

For those spending money on the machines, it's not always a jackpot.

KJ is a hard-working mother of two, in the past she noticed things getting a little out of hand.

"I got overly excited and making it too much of a routine to where the losses were overcoming the winnings," explains K.J.

Now KJ is giving out advice to other players.

"It's very important to have rules to it, which is setting a certain limit, only doing what you can afford, always go into it planning on preparing to lose."

If you'd like to see a breakdown of the profits from all city and counties with gaming machines we have a link to that website here.

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