PEORIA - A Peoria bar owner says a new video gaming license is an extra burden on already cash strapped businesses.
Mary Motteler owns The Recovery Room in Peoria. She turned her machines on last week just days before the city said owners must pay up to $450 for a video gaming license fee. Motteler will have to pay $400.
Motteler says she hasn't seen a profit from her machines yet, and she hoped the city would wait to see how much money other businesses make.
She says times are tough for small businesses, which are already feeling a heavy burden without the fee.
"Between the state of Illinois, the health department and the city, I will have spent $2,590 on those license fees alone," she said.
Originally, the city proposed a flat rate fee of $500 for businesses that operated video gambling machines. Tuesday, city leaders agreed on an ordinance that will charge $250 for the first machine and $50 per additional machine. The state limit is five machines per establishment, which means $450 would be the highest fee.
The city says fees in some other cities are much more expensive, but many range from $100 to $500 initial fees.
"Aurora, they charge a $600 arcade fee for actual place and additional $100 license fee for each machine," city attorney Sonni Choi Williams.
But Motteler argues
most other cities do not have to pay a monthly HRA (Hotel, Restaurant and
According to the city, the ordinance provides local control and regulation. The fee will also pay for staff labor costs.
"I mean, I understand the place that the city is in too, but these little mom and pop bars, they're hurting right now," she said.
The ordinance takes effect in February. The city will re-evaluate the fee next year.