- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) - Illinois municipalities that host video gambling in bars and restaurants won’t get their cut of profits from the machines until the state budget is in place, Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office announced Monday.

The Republican governor and Democrats in the state Legislature have been at a budget impasse for weeks. And the state doesn’t have the authority to distribute video gambling profits to municipalities across Illinois without a balanced budget, Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said in a statement.

Some local governments reap thousands of dollars each month from the machines, while other towns have rejected video gambling, the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald (https://bit.ly/1D8xdQr ) reported. Last month, Hoffman Estates took in $23,289 from the machines, Elk Grove Village collected $16,475 and Hanover Park earned $8,472.

“Municipalities have already adopted their budgets and used revenue assumptions that factor in the monthly video gaming payment,” Lake County Municipal League Executive Director Mandi Florip said in a statement. “This unpaid amount has the potential to create budget shortfalls to impacted communities in Lake County.”

A spokeswoman for Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger said attorneys in her office are looking into the video gambling issue.

Without a state budget in place, Illinois isn’t able to pay many of its new bills. However, there are some exceptions.

The statement from Rauner’s office indicates his belief that video gambling payments won’t be among those exceptions.

In the statement, governor’s camp places the blame for the state’s inability to pass a balanced budget on House Speaker Michael “Madigan and the legislators he controls.” But Madigan believes Rauner caused the budget holdup, and he argues that the governor could’ve avoided a partial state shutdown by making changes to the budget that Democratic lawmakers sent to him in May and leaving the rest alone.

“The person who had the singular authority to avoid all this was Gov. Rauner,” Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said.

It’s unclear how the delayed payments for video gambling will affect municipalities, but the financial hardships could vary widely.

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Information from: Daily Herald, https://www.dailyherald.com


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