Effingham County officials are considering an ordinance to regulate video gaming.
At Monday’s Legislative Committee of the Whole meeting, County Board Chairman Jim Niemann said the proposed ordinance would give county agents authority to investigate alleged video gaming-related issues.
“It would give us some legal authority until the state hires more investigators,” Niemann said, adding the Illinois Gaming Board seems to be short on investigative power, particularly downstate.
Niemann said the ordinance would affect every video gaming licensee in the county, unlike other county ordinances that only affect those in unincorporated parts of the county. Investigations, he said, would be financed by a surcharge on each machine used for video gaming within the county.
Niemann added that he wasn’t looking upon the ordinance as a moneymaker for the county.
“All I am interested in is covering enforcement costs,” he said.
Niemann said no problems with video gaming have been reported. But he’s concerned about the possibility of underage patrons using the machines.
“That (underage use) is my big one,” Niemann said. “This way, we would be able to pull a gaming license for a period of time.”
Effingham County State’s Attorney Bryan Kibler said the proposed ordinance is at least a month away from consideration by the full board.
“I want to play around with some of the provisions before this goes to the full board,” Kibler said.
The Illinois General Assembly allowed video gaming in 2009, but the law wasn’t implemented until last fall because of a lawsuit that challenged portions of the law.
Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or firstname.lastname@example.org.