Video gambling totals rise

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Following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown, video gambling in Monroe County is now seemingly bigger than ever before.

Based on data from the Illinois Gaming Board, about $55 million was played on Monroe County machines in the first half of 2022. This total is already near the $70.4 million played in 2019, which was just prior to the pandemic.

As in previous years, Waterloo led the surge in video gambling for the county, with the city’s 84 terminals spread across 16 establishments seeing more  than $27.2 million played already this year.

Players in Waterloo were able to win nearly $25 million while the city received its share of $118,000 in gaming revenue.

Waterloo’s top video gambling locations for the first half of 2022 included Ruby’s with $4.3 million played, Debbie’s Slots Lounge with $3.1 million, Outsider Tavern with $2.9 million, Huck’s with $2.7 million and Randy’s Double R Bar with $2.3 million.

The City of Waterloo received $19,832.88, $15,222.82, $11,623.06, $10,708.75 and $9,757.23 in revenue, respectively, from these venues.

Those Waterloo businesses that broke $1 million played also include Pearl’s Player Palace at $1.1 million, Mobil On the Run at $1.7 million, Circle K at $1.5 million, Washy’s Saloon at $1 million and Willie’s West End at $1.7 million.

Those that didn’t pass $1 million played yet this year include Amoco, Fourth Street Bar & Grill, Main Street Saloon, JV’s Downtown Bar & Grill and Imo’s Pizza.

While video gambling funds dropped sharply over the course of the pandemic, Waterloo Budget Officer Shawn Kennedy said there has been a notable increase lately.

“It’s recovered very well and we are seeing actually increased funds coming through the video gaming since the pandemic,” Kennedy said.

Video gambling funds for Waterloo go toward the city’s beautification efforts such as the street clock at the intersection of Main Street and West Mill Street and the strands of white lights illuminating downtown.

The municipality with the next highest played total in the county so far in 2022 is Columbia with $23.7 million played, $21.9 million won and $90,824.73 received by the city from 55 terminals at 10 establishments.

Top earners in Columbia include TopShooters at $4.3 million played, B&D’s Slots of Fun at $3.4 million, Washy’s Pub at $3.2 million, Tiny’s Pub & Grill at $3.1 million, and Ace’s Wild at $2.4 million.

The city received $13,663.51, $14,307.61, $12,521.39, $13,393.91 and $10,479.29, respectively, in revenue from those establishments.

Other video gambling establishments include Columbia Market at $2.2 million played, Pair of Dice at $2.1 million, Columbia City Saloon at $1.9 million, Columbia Post 581 American Legion at $604,760.43 and Who Dat’s Southern Food at $291,534.08.

Video gambling funds in Columbia go toward the city’s parks.

Monroe County’s unincorporated video gambling locations saw $4.3 million played, $4 million won and $16,655.68 in revenue received by the county.

Monroe County’s five establishments with 21 terminals include Midwest Petroleum with $1.7 played, Crazy Train Saloon & Grill with $1 million, Route 3 Bar & Grill with $810,842.14, Freeda’s On Main with $667,451.88 and Dreamland Palace with $136,044.70.

Monroe County Treasurer Kevin Koenigstein noted that given the distinct decrease in video gambling money played for the last year or two, it would make sense that people are eager to get out and participate in activities that they previously couldn’t for some time.

“Now it’s exceeding what it was pre-pandemic levels, probably due to more avenues and more establishments having video gaming and people wanting to get out and do things,” Koenigstein said.

Maeystown, with its single establishment of Hank & Lilly’s Creekside, saw $142,242.11 played so far this year, $131,212.11 won and $551.49 earned by the municipality.

Valmeyer’s figures were similarly low with their two establishments of Corner Pub and Mike’s Convenience & Service seeing $672,333.07 played, $618,477.44 won and $2,692.79 earned by the community.

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