Three new video gambling machines have been placed at Barry DuHasek's Highland pizzeria waiting for play.
The terminals went online late Tuesday at Sam's Pizza & Pub at 1017 Broadway, where DuHasek has great expectations for the newly legalized form of gaming.
"It will be an additional revenue stream," DuHasek said. "Hopefully, this will give our state a little help to crawl out of debt."
A total of 278 machines are now in operation in 65 locations across Illinois by way of the Video Gaming Act. This 2009 state law has recently come on line.
The law gives local communities and counties the option to opt out of this provision by passing ordinances in opposition. Belleville has a binding referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot about whether video gaming should be allowed in city limits. In Collinsville and Glen Carbon, advisory referendum questions are on the ballot about whether video gaming should be allowed in those towns.
The Illinois Gaming Board in Chicago reviews all applications. After three weeks of testing and prior months of licensing, the gaming board flipped the switch Tuesday for metro-east businesses in O'Fallon, Highland, Breese and Alton.
Gaming board Director Gene O'Shea said the board received quite a few requests over the past few months and there are still a lot more requests pending.
"There will be installs probably every week until everyone has what they want in place," O'Shea said. "It will depend on terminal operators and how quickly they get their financing information to us. Then, they will be able to put machines in locations."
The board is currently processing license applications from 2,223 establishments, as well as 127 fraternal organizations, 198 veterans organizations and 66 truck stops.
"I can't put a timeline on it," O'Shea said. "We're working as fast as we can and as thorough as we can."
Income from these video gaming terminals will be divided among the state, local government, the entity that issues the liquor license, the terminal operator, the business where the video gaming is located and Scientific Games Corp., which is supplying the machines.
"lt helps our local municipality generate revenue as well as we hope to help our small business as well as other communities and the state," DuHasek said. "We hope that it will be a win-win situation for everybody."
Contact reporter Will Buss at email@example.com or 239-2526.