Proposed Moline Video Gaming Fee: City Windfall or Regulation?
Businesses currently pay the City of Moline $50 a machine for the right to have video gaming machines in their establishments. At last night's city council meeting aldermen discussed raising that cost to $1,000 a machine. This according to a report from our news share partner Local 4 and Ourquadcities.com.
Moline Mayor Stephanie Acri told Local 4 News the recent crack down on gambling is an effort to address concerns of both neighbors and city leaders. She feels this fee might address those issues.
I see it, you see it, we all see it. Video gaming has become commonplace in Illinois. It's immediately noticeable when you cross over any of our bridges from Iowa to Illinois. It's not just the Quad Cities either. My favorite pizza place back home has video gaming. My wife and mine's favorite restaurant back in the first town we lived in has video gaming. It's everywhere in Illinois. Including Moline.
Local 4 News didn't particularly specify what concerns Moline is trying to address by raising the costs to have the machines in a business. Logically, though, it would seem Moline would like to limit the amount of places that have them. The tax increase on the businesses who have them certainly will do that.
It could also be the difference between some businesses surviving or closing. Nick Neppl, owner of Nico's Hispanic Cuisine told Local 4 News "For me it helps pay the rent and pay off the loans, and the overhead on a restaurant is pretty high so every little bit adds up." Neppl told Local 4 News for him it could mean closing the doors for good.
Moline currently makes a nice chunk of change from businesses that have the machines. This year Moline has made $247,000 in taxes from the machines and if they get many people who have the machines to pay significantly more Moline could see more tax dollars. Mayor Acri says the City could make another $155,000 in taxes from higher fees which she'd like to put towards maintaining city streets.
One thing is for sure, it's a safe bet the City of Moline can't lose. The new fees will either work at regulating video gaming, or put more money in the city coffers. Perhaps both. For business owners who are relying on video gaming profits, the future may have just gotten a little more dicey.