As Cook County considers a tax on slot machines, Gov. Pat Quinn says he understands the financial situation in the county. Cook County is considering levying an $800 tax per slot machine and video gaming machine. The tax would be used for dealing with crimes committed by compulsive gamblers to support their habit, according to the county president’s office.
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But such a tax could cost the state revenue as venues that were considering adding video gambling machines may change their mind. Quinn says he understands the county’s need. “You know Cook County has to deal with law enforcement and criminal justice, you know the jails are really under the domain of the county,” Quinn said.“Anytime you have gambling, there are some law enforcement issues, so you should definitely have resources available to the county for what’s happening in gambling.”
Asked if the tax would put off some bar owners mulling the idea of adding video poker machines, resulting in a loss of revenue for the state’s capital program, Quinn said it’s too soon to say. “I don’t know what’s going to happen there,” Quinn said. He says the legislature will meet after the election and he expects talks will turn to gambling.
Ironically, Cook County voted to opt out of video gambling for unincorporated areas. Home rule cities can decide on their own if they want the machines and some have already established set taxes on video gambling machines.