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Streator video gambling business owner objects to city’s increase of terminal fee

A Streator video gambling establishment owner complained to the City Council on Wednesday about the recently approved increase in annual terminal fees as well as the amount of notice businesses received before they were approved.

The City Council should have consulted establishment owners before increasing the fees to $225 for each machine, S.A.T.T. Enterprises proprietor Shane Hill said. Officials said previously the increase would generate $37,800 to help narrow a structural deficit in its budget.

Hill said he was notified a couple of days before the measure passed. There were no public objections during the Committee of the Whole meeting on Dec. 14 when the fee increase was discussed, nor the Jan. 19 council meeting when the hike was approved.

According to records from the Illinois Gaming Board, S.A.T.T. Enterprises operates 18 terminals in Streator, meaning the increase from $25 to $250 per terminal would amount to $4,050. State statute requires the terminal operator and the licensed establishment to share those fees, meaning the fee increase would be $2,025 for his establishments. Hill disagreed with Mayor Tara Bedei the operator splits the fee.

Hill said the increased video terminal fees to his business will come out of sponsorships his businesses have with youth organizations. He told the council he donates to community organizations. Despite the statute, Hill also said he believes there is a way the city could have put the fee burden on terminal operators instead of the licensed establishment.

“Just because the state says you can increase it to $250 doesn’t mean you should do it,” Hill told the council. “… But you did what you wanted and it makes me mad.”

According to Illinois Gaming Board records, for the first three months of 2022, S.A.T.T. Enterprises’ terminals — six each at three locations — generated a net income of $476,623.

Of that amount, the state taxes 34%, amounting to $162,052. The city’s share of that taxed income is $23,831. The remaining revenue of $314,571 is split between the terminal operator and the establishment, coming out to roughly $157,285. This figure does not account for state license fees, liability insurance, or any other state requirements.

Accel Entertainment says the establishment receives about 32.57% of the revenue, which would amount to $155,256 in the aforementioned case, noting the average establishment in Illinois earns more than $60,000 per year.

Bedei said she figured the fee increases to be on average about a loss of five days of revenue annually to each establishment.

The fees will be charged when they become due May 1. Streator has 170 video gambling terminals operating in 32 different establishments, according to the Illinois Gaming Board’s report. In the first three months of 2022, video gambling establishments — in Streator alone — have generated a net income of $1,820,720, before it is taxed, records show.

Streator was one of three other communities in the region to increase its fees to $250 per terminal. Spring Valley and Princeton increased their fees to the maximum $250 for non-Home Rule communities. La Salle increased its fee from $60 to $120 while Peru has taken no official action. In Oglesby, the fee will be raised incrementally over the next three years to $250. The fee climbs by $100 next year, then by $75 and then by $50.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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