Illinois Gears Up for Start of Video Gambling


Chino's Pizzeria in suburban Chicago is among the first Illinois locations to get video poker machines.

More than three years after Illinois approved video gambling to fund construction projects, the first machines are arriving at approved establishments, like bars.

Chino's owner Roberto "Chino'' Vasquez thinks it'll be good for his business in Justice. That's about 25 miles from Chicago.

The Illinois Gaming Board predicts the machines should be ready to play within weeks. They have to test a computer system first.

Officials predict up to 75,000 machines will be installed statewide.

Illinois approved video gambling to help fund a construction program. Gaming is estimated to raise about $375 million yearly.

But the process was slow. There was a legal challenge, gaming board staffing shortages and errors with the contract bidding.

Video poker is scheduled to roll out in bars, restaurants, truck stops and fraternal organizations as soon as August. Even though the state has given the ok to allow it, local governments get the final say. This map pinpoints establishments in east central Illinois that have been approved by the state to allow video gambling. Those that are marked in green have also been approved by their local governments, while blue means they haven't yet received local approval (Map by Sean Powers/WILL):
View Video Gambling in East Central Illinois in a larger map

Story source: AP