A Silvis bar is among the first in Illinois to offer video gambling under a state law approved three years ago.
Video gambling went live in 65 bars and restaurants statewide Tuesday. The first video gambling terminal locally arrived at Avenue Tap in Silvis on Tuesday and already was in use that night, according to staff at the bar.
The other two video gambling licenses already approved by the state in Rock Island County are for City Limits Saloon and Grill, Rock Island, and Jesse's Saloon in Silvis.
Jesse's expects to have its video gambling available Friday, while staff at City Limits expects to get terminals Thursday but are unsure when they'll be up and running. A number of other area bars have applied for video gambling licenses and are waiting for the green light from the state.
The Illinois Gaming Board has licensed 341 businesses and fraternal and veteran organizations — though not all have their terminals installed yet — and is processing more than 2,200 other applications, gambling officials said.
Lawmakers approved video gambling in 2009 to help fund a $31 billion construction program to fix schools, roads, bridges and other projects. At that time, it was estimated video gambling would raise about $375 million a year for the state.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Pat Quinn did not immediately respond to a request for updated projections Tuesday.
Patrons at The Assembly American Bar & Cafe in Hoffman Estates have been able to play on its five machines for two weeks because the eatery was a test site, owner Gary Taylor said.
The machines have been popular, he said, but he doubted they will bring in as much revenue as terminal operators and the state have projected. The state will get 25 percent and local municipalities 5 percent of net income after winnings are paid. The other 70 percent is split by the business owners and the companies that operate the machines.
The 65 locations announced Tuesday have a total of 278 video gambling terminals. Gambling officials have estimated that up to 75,000 machines could be installed statewide within a year.
Gambling officials said 633 cities and counties have enacted ordinances to allow video gambling, and several had to reverse bans on video gambling to take advantage of the potential new revenue. Hundreds of communities still prohibit the practice. Opposition largely has come from church groups that question how much revenue the machines will bring and worry about the social cost.
Today is Monday, April 21, the 111th day of 2014. There are 254 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The female sex seems to have gone crazy on the subject of dry goods. When high prices keep them from increasing their wardrobes, they turn to stealing. Yard goods, hats, shoes and other items are being picked up and carried home. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Members of Everts Commandery No. 18, Knights Templar, under Commander H.C. Cleaveland, marched from the Masonic Temple to Trinity Episcopal Church for their annual Easter services. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Nate Hultgren pitched the Augustana College baseball team to a 10-3 victory over Carthage, striking out 11 men and allowing only four hits. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Marvel Leonhardi, a Rock Island High School senior, was the winner of an essay contest on advertising sponsored by The Argus and Advertising Age, a national advertising publication. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The Augustana College band drew a crowd of 1,200 people for its annual home concert in Centennial Hall. The size of the crowd was indicative of the fact the band is rapidly approaching the stature of the Augustana Choir. 1989 -- 25 years ago: A benefit to raise money for extracurricular activities in the Rock Island Milan School District will be April 27 at the Quad City Downs harness race track. People buying $17.50 tickets to the second annual "Night at the Quad City Downs" will be entitled to an evening of harness racing and dinner.