Joliet gives preliminary OK to gaming push tax.

City would collect a penny a play out of gambler’s winnings

A proposed push tax on video gambling will advance to the Joliet City Council for a vote.

The tax would charge a penny a play that would be taken out of the winnings of gamblers playing video gaming machines.

The council’s Land Use and Legislative Committee approved the proposal by a 3-0 vote after being assured that the tax would not be charged to local restaurants and bars that have video gambling machines.

Council member Joe Clement said he had heard from a local restaurant owner that the tax could cost the business $2,000 a week.

Regis said the tax will not affect local business owners.

“It’s deducted from the player’s earnings to be paid by the [machine] owner, not the restaurant owner,” he said.

Terminal operators own or lease video gambling machines that are placed in bars and restaurants, which share in the revenue generated by the devices.

The tax is called a push tax, since it is based on the number of times a gambler presses a button on the machine. The tax is charged only on plays. It is not charged for buttons pressed on wager amounts, game selection or printing receipts, according to the proposed ordinance.

Regis said the proposed Joliet ordinance is based on a model provided by the Illinois Municipal League.

“This is something that a few municipalities in the state have done,” he said.

Bob Okon

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News