Video gaming machines have bars, customers winning big - Wandtv.com, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News-

Video gaming machines have bars, customers winning big

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This is the first year video gambling machines are allowed in Illinois establishments and less than a year with the games, bars are already winning big.

In March, WAND talked to Woody's and Mom's Place which were giving video gambling machines a try. Woody's had just put them in and Mom's Place was finishing up the application process. WAND checked back in with both businesses and they said the machines have exceeded their expectations.

Since Woody's added video gaming machines about nine months ago, it's been a pay day every day for the bar and customers.

"I was hoping, praying for half of what they're doing," said Woody's owner Craig Wilson.

Last month Woody's brought in $16,000 just from the machines.

"They've allowed us to hire more people, make changes here," he said.

The bar has made upgrades like new televisions, a new freezer and a new coat of paint to the outside.

"They're great for us, Wilson said.

And customers, too who are walking away winners.

"The last three months we've averaged about $175,000 a month in payouts," Wilson said.

Mom's Place was playing a similar game. Since July, their machines paid out 75 to 80 percent monthly. In September, that was around $60,000.

"Most of our customers are machine players," said Mom's Place bartender Julie Goodman.

The machines brought in more business and new faces.

"The machines have helped us tremendously," she said.

Mom's Place has added three additional staff members thanks to the success of video gambling.

"There's no downfall to the machines, no negative things I could say about the machines," she said.  "They help us."

So it sounds like everyone's a winner.

Wilson also owns Sliderz bar. He's working on adding five video gambling machines there, as well. He's going through the application process right now. In fact, he had a meeting for it Thursday.

The state gets thirty percent of the cut from video gambling. Local municipalities get 5 percent of the state's share. Machine owners rake in 35 percent and bars also get 35 percent. By law, each bar is limited to five machines.

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