As numerous states across America struggle with the new world disorder and an uncertain economic future have sought to make an extra buck or two by legalizing and taxing things that had hitherto been beyond the scope of legality, Illinois has run afoul of a lack of foresight. With regulation in place it is a small exemption that has meant that whilst other video gaming units are taxed, there are no Illinois sweepstake machine laws that keep them on an even footing, and the state is losing out.
The Illinois Loophole
• Illinois Gaming machines taxed
• Sweepstakes machines exempted
• Not taxed by percentage to state
• Not limited in number per locale
It would be easy to think that regulating gaming isn’t the most tricky piece of law making that politicians and officials would ever be faced with, however given the song and dance made about it all it becomes quite clear quite quickly that that might only be true were it not for all the special interest groups, lobbyists and pressure groups that latch onto trigger-word issues and won’t let go. This explains why there are no Illinois sweepstake machine laws that are worth a damn. Someone stopped them.
The issue is that whilst gaming machines of the more traditional variety are regulated by Illinois and US gambling laws paying a percentage of their earnings to the state coffers, the so-called “sweepstakes” machines, which do not directly give out cash, do not. They may look similar and give a similar experience for gamers, but they are exempt from the same regulation and taxation, which is odd, isn’t it? Illinois sweepstakes machine laws are different from ordinary gaming machine laws? Why?
Illinois Sweepstakes Machine Laws Exemption
Perhaps a clue is in the fact that McDonalds uses sweepstakes machines in its franchises to play games like Monopoly, and were these machines subject to the same regulations, were Illinois sweepstakes machines laws the same as those for other machines, they’d not be able to do that, and certainly not to put more than five machines in one location. Obviously McDonalds, a massively rich corporate employer of millions, would not have placed pressure on law-makers to make this exemption, would they?
The result is, however, that many small businesses that would have otherwise tried more traditional gaming units are now using these sweepstakes machines instead and for Mike Gelatka, President of the Illinois Gaming Machine Operators Association that’s an unfair competition for his members. “To the player it doesn’t look any different,” He lamented bitterly of the Illinois sweepstakes machine law evaders, “but they don’t have to pay anything to the state and they don’t owe any money to the municipality.”
Is A Lack Of Regulatory Foresight A Problem In USA?
So there we have it, law-makers just happen to bend in the direction a big multi-national wanted them to, and it completely breaks the system. Small business owners will shave everything they can from their costs and if there are no fiscally burdensome Illinois sweepstakes machine laws then those will be the units they put in their establishments. That’s just capitalismg in action, something you’d think the law-makers of Illinois would have been aware of and taken into account, but alas for the state coffers, they apparently didn’t.
This gaming loophole is not unique. Anyone in the US gambling news reports of this sort of anomaly are limited only to Illinois should think again, there are pockets of pathetic pandering that have ruined the point of the project nation wide. The continued prohibition on online gambling at sites like Bet365 might look in doubt long term, but what hope for sensible regulation of it when Illinois sweepstakes machine laws underline just how blind law-makers can be made to the blisteringly obvious by their corporate masters.