Peru council aims for video gambling machine fee to distributors, operators

Council undecided on the amount

Video gaming machines are seen at Lucky Penny's on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021 in Cary.  Gambling machines such as these are back up and running again after being shut down due to COVID-19 mitigations.

Video gambling machine distributors and proprietors operating them in Peru businesses should expect to pay higher fees soon.

The finance committee of the Peru council opened discussions Monday about raising fees per gambling machine, but did not come to any conclusion on how much to set them. City staff will conduct more research on the topic.

At this time, the city charges $35 per machine. Some communities, such as Streator, have raised the fees to $250 per video gambling machine. Spring Valley’s council also is looking into doing the same. These fees can be split between the distributor and the proprietor, according to state officials. Peru council members suggested the distributor should pay the highest amount, saying they didn’t want to hurt local restaurant and tavern owners.

Councilman suggested the city look into limiting the number of gaming parlors allowed within city limits. Peru has no limit right now on the number of liquor licenses it provides, meaning it also doesn’t regulate the number of gaming parlors.

In 2021, there were 194 machines operating in 35 establishments in Peru, netting $7.5 million total in income — even with machines being shut down the first 16 days of the year. As its share, the city collected $375,618 and the state $2.1 million.

Mayor Ken Kolowski also mentioned during a public services committee meeting he has received complaints from residents about the flapping banners stuck into the ground in front of gaming parlors. City staff are going to investigate whether these are allowed in the establishment’s permitting, and address the issue if they are not.