Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

October 12, 2012

Game on for video gamblers

Jackson Adams
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — Video gambling has come to Effingham and so far, play is just starting to heat up.

    “We haven’t seen a lot yet,” said Jack Thompson, owner of the Gabby Goat in Effingham. “People aren’t really aware of them being here yet. We’ve had a couple of ladies coming in and playing at lunch.”

    Thompson said although the machines have started bringing in patrons who are willing to roll the dice, it may be too early to tell what the long-term benefits of the machines may be.

    “I think it’s too early to tell,” he said. “The state expects some revenue to go to the state, and in the end, they get their 5 percent for the state. It’s just too early to tell. It’s not a huge amount of money.”

    Thompson said his establishment was prepared for the arrival of the machines before they even came.

    “I think this was a way, when we were remodeling, to make some extra money,” he said. “We let people under 21 come in but we created a separate room. We wanted to have it separate so they couldn’t come in. No one under 21 is allowed in the room. It was available and it was a revenue generator. It was a win-win for us.”

    Players are also enjoying the benefit of the machines. Todd Thoele of Effingham said he won big when video gambling was being tested in Strasburg and he hoped to try his luck in town.

    “It’d be nice to do that again,” he said, talking about his luck in the past. “I’ll check it out for the time being.”

    Staff at The Office in Effingham said they see the addition of the machines as another source of entertainment for patrons.

    “It’s something fun to do,” said Brittany Dowell, a bartender at The Office.

    Dowell said that she could be enticed to give the new machines a chance.

    “I’ll probably try them soon,” she said. “I haven’t yet, so I figure that I pretty much have to try it.”

    Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or jackson.adams@effinghamdailynews.com.