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Video gaming terminals are turned on in Polo

Video gaming went live late last week at a Polo bar and restaurant.

Two video gaming terminals were turned on March 15 at the Polo Room on Ill. 26 at the north edge of town.

Owner Steve Frano said the machines hadn't seen a lot of action by late afternoon, but he expected that to change when his business reached its peak hours later in the evening.

"Two or three have played so far today, but I expect that to change," he said just after 5 p.m.

Video gaming devices were approved by the Polo City Council last June.

Frano said he applied to have the machines last April, just in case they got the nod from city hall.

"We were one of the first in the area to apply," he said. "We were approached to get them here. It's a source of revenue, and fortunately some of that money goes back to the city."

He said state laws dictate he can have up to five machines and he plans to get more if they prove popular with customers.

Two other bar owners in the city expressed interest in getting the machines last summer when they were approved.

The video gaming machines are very similar to the devices at river boat casinos.

Customers put money in to play and the machine automatically keeps track of their winnings. 

When the player decides to quit or "cash out," the gaming machine prints a bar-coded ticket that the player then inserts into a nearby cash redemption machine to obtain the money he or she has won.

The cash redemption machine is also has ATM and bill changer capabilities.

The winnings are limited by state statute to $500 per "pull."

The proceeds from the machines are split between the bar owner, the company that provides the machines, the state, and the city. 

The money is collected by the state which then distributes it.

The city gets 5 percent, the state gets 25 percent, the machine provider and establishment each get 35 percent.

The ordinance approved by the city complies with the Illinois Video Gaming Act enacted in 2009 that legalizes the use of video gaming terminals in certain establishments that hold liquor licenses, including bars, truck stops, fraternal establishments, and veterans establishments.

The gambling machines are connected to the Internet to allow the state to monitor money taken in and any payouts awarded.

Bar owners will not be involved in the operation of the gaming or cash redemption machines.

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