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 Wednesday, July 30, the 211th day of 2014. There are 154 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: After Sept. 1, every small box of matches will be required to have a 3 cent duty Lincoln stamp on it, and every large box will be one cent for every 100 matches. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Rock Island residents had contributed a total of $1,293 to the American Red Cross for the Johnstown flood relief fund. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Capt. Clark Means, new darkhorse twirler for the ARGUS staff, was in great form in his initial contest as a mound laborer. The result was that THE ARGUS trimmed the Union 6-5. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Hunter and Humprey Moody, young Decatur, Ill, brothers, lack only a few hours of establishing a new world light plane endurance record. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Gates of the 110th annual Mercer County Fair swing open tonight at Aledo for a full week of day and night activity. More that $36,000 will be paid in premiums and race purses. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The baseball field carved out of the cornfield near Dyersville, Iowa, continues to keep dreams alive for hundreds of visitors. Tourists from 26 state and France have visited Dan Lansing's farm to see the baseball diamond seen in the hit movie "Field of Dreams."