Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

Ruling Favors Home Rule Regulation of Video Gaming

We began reporting on the case of Accel Entertainment Gaming, LLC v. Village of Elmwood Park last year. The First District Appellate Court issued its ruling last week and affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of the video gaming machine supplier’s challenge to municipal regulation of video gaming. In the interim, and as we also previously reported, other cases emerged that indicated there might be conflicting opinions among the courts regarding a local government’s authority to regulate video gaming beyond what the Video Gaming Act and Illinois Gaming Board’s regulations specify.

Of particular significance in Accel was whether an ordinance that limited the number of video gaming machines within a home rule village was a permissible restriction and whether a $1,000 annual fee per machine was an impermissible occupation tax.

The court in Accel recognized that the home rule municipality could regulate video gaming beyond the statutory and IGB requirements because video gaming implicated local concerns of safety and welfare. And while the court also acknowledged that a home rule municipality had the ability to have an occupation tax and did not invalidate the $1,000 annual fee, it must be noted that the reasonableness of the fee or tax was not specifically challenged or addressed by the court.