Oswego taps brakes on future video gaming

By Jack McCarthy Chronicle Media

A 1-mile stretch of Orchard Road on Oswego’s west side includes four video gaming cafes plus gaming terminals at two gas stations. (Photos by Jack McCarthy/Chronicle Media)

Oswego is putting the brakes on future video gambling in the village.

The Oswego Village Board last week unanimously approved a cap on new gaming at storefront outlets, restaurants and bars, convenience stores and gas stations while including a provision that permits more than two dozen existing video gaming licenses to remain in place.

The new rules, presented as amendments to the village’s Gaming Code at a Feb. 6 meeting, calls for a limit of 15 licenses at gaming cafes, 11 at gas stations, one at convenience stores and as many as eight at ancillary businesses (described as including restaurants and bars).

The proposed ordinance also imposed geographic distances between video gaming outlets under future licenses. Current locations are not affected.

There are now 29 active licenses with 152 terminals, according to Illinois Gaming Board figures. One license is currently on hold awaiting state approval. Twelve licenses are held by gaming cafes.

Oswego originally approved video gaming in May 2013 and currently receives more than $500,000 in annual gaming revenue.

The number of licenses and gaming proceeds in Oswego has grown considerably since 2021, according to village and state figures.

A total of $322,042 in revenue was realized in 2021 from five gaming cafes and 17 total gaming licenses. In 2022, the village gained $432,601 from eight gaming cafes and 23 total gaming licenses.

According to full 2023 figures from the Illinois Gaming Board, Oswego’s 12 gaming cafes and 29 total licenses generated a net of $11.2 million in income. After deducting taxes and a state share, the village earned $560,628 in revenue.

The village receives 5 percent of revenue from video gaming, with money going to the village’s general fund.

Nearby Yorkville has 21 licenses and 115 video gaming terminals which last year realized net totals of $6.3 million and $317,165 in revenue for that city. Kendall County net video gaming income totaled $24 million.

According to the Illinois Gaming Board, there are more than 8,400 licensed video gaming locations operating over 46,400 video gaming terminals across the state, claimed to be the largest video gaming network of its kind in the world.

Statewide net video gaming proceeds for 2023 totaled $2.8 billion.

The Gaming Board also oversees operations of 11 licensed sports books and 15 licensed casinos in Illinois, the most recent opening in Chicago in 2023.