Local gambling totals drop

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It took a pandemic, but the amount of money played at video gambling terminals in Monroe County dropped for the first time in four years in 2020. 

Per data from the Illinois Gaming Board, people played approximately $44.7 million in Monroe County in 2020, down from the record of about $70.4 million played in 2019. 

That roughly 36 percent decline comes after Illinois prohibited video gaming operations from March 16-June 30 and from Nov. 19 until Friday as the novel coronavirus spread.  

Local municipalities netted $176,828.60 from their share of gaming revenue last year, a decrease of $102,751.12 from the prior year.

State law allows municipalities and county boards to pass ordinances approving video gambling terminals in their jurisdictions.

Five percent of net terminal income – the amount gambled minus what is paid out – goes to the local municipality. 

Thirty-four percent of that money goes to the government’s coffers, with the state getting 29 percent.

The remaining income is split evenly between the company operating the terminals and the establishment which houses them. 

As in every recent year, Waterloo led Monroe County in amounts played on these machines. 

People played more than $23.8 million and won over $21.9 million on 86 video gaming terminals spread out across Waterloo’s 17 relevant establishments. All numbers in the millions in this story are approximate. 

The businesses with the most money played were Ruby’s at $3.9 million, Debbie’s at $2.9 million, Huck’s at $2.7 million, Randy’s Double R Bar with $2.3 million and Circle K with $2 million. 

The city received $15,407.04, $13,370.79, $11,245.31, $8,478.26 and $9,245.14 from each of those places, respectively. 

Between $1-$2 million was played at Fast Stop ($1.7 million), Washy’s Saloon ($1.6), Outsider Tavern ($1.2 million), Willie’s West End ($1.1 million) and 424 West Gaming Parlor ($1 million).

In descending order of amount played, Amoco, Mr. BBQ, Fourth Street Bar & Grill, JVs, Imo’s Pizza, Mobile On the Run and Main Street Saloon all had less than $1 million played. 

The city got a total of $97,034.82 from all that gambled money. 

Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith said much of that is earmarked for two planned memorial walls, one of which would honor first responders and has been in the works since 2019.

“I’m still hoping to do that,” Smith said. “And I’m hoping to do a heritage wall that talks about the history of Waterloo (located) somewhere downtown.” 

 Columbia had the next highest amount played in Monroe County. Almost $15.5 million was played in the city, with players winning nearly $14.3 million at its 47 terminals spread among nine establishments. 

Top Shooters, Washy’s Pub, Ace’s Wild, Tiny’s, Pair of Dice and Columbia City Saloon led the city in amount played with $3.6 million, $2.6 million, $2.4 million, $2.1 million, $1.9 million and $1.4 million played at each of those locations, respectively. 

The city received $13,402.74, $10,218.58, $9,602, $7,333.45, $8,137.34 and 6,013.19, respectively, from those establishments. 

In descending order, Bully’s Smokehouse, Who Dat’s and Columbia American Legion Post 581 all had well under $1 million played.

In total, the city received $59,541.16 in gaming revenue last year. 

City ordinance requires that money to benefit Columbia’s parks. 

“Major initiatives for 2020 were put on hold. We had planned to replace the Lion’s Pavilion in Bolm-Schuhkraft Park and re-seal the tennis courts; however, these projects were placed on hold once gaming was suspended,” Columbia City Administrator Douglas Brimm said. “We are optimistic that we will be able to accomplish these projects in 2021. Additionally, progress has continued on development of the planned Creekside Park.” 

The unincorporated areas of Monroe County saw the third most amount played, as people played $4 million dollars and won $3.7 million at the 24 terminals located in six establishments throughout the county. 

Midwest Petroleum, located off Route 3 near Red Bud, had the most played with $2.1 million, followed by Route 3 Bar & Grill south of Waterloo with $1 million, Crazy Train Saloon & Grill in Burksville with $559,449.59, Freeda’s in Renault with $199,552.55, Dreamland Palace in Foster Pond with $86,660 and Metro East Power Haus off Hanover Road with $45,442.58. 

The county received $14,968.87 in gaming revenue, with $7,07.62, $3,943.25, $1,578.88, $1,025.86, $398.43 and $314.83 coming from those businesses, respectively. 

That money goes into the county’s general fund. 

The county’s smallest towns have only one establishment with terminals. 

The Corner Pub in Valmeyer had $363,768.98 played, earning that village $1,741.58. 

In Maeystown, Hank & Lilly’s Creekside saw $225,113.54 played, netting $559.09 for the town. 

Back Street Wine & Dine in Hecker had the most played in these small communities at $682,930.18, garnering $2,982.98 for the village. 

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