Written by Kelly White
Video gaming has been boosting revenue for the City of Hickory Hills and its businesses.
During the video gaming’s first full year in in the city in 2013, annual net profits reached a total of $127,000. Out of the $127,000, $38,000 was distributed to the State of Illinois with five percent going to Hickory Hills, leaving $88,000 to be split evenly between the video gaming machine vendor and the location provider of the machines.
“This has brought in a tremendous amount of revenue for our local city’s businesses,” City Treasurer, Dan Schramm said during a recent committee meeting.
In January, 2013, the city had video gaming in seven machines in two locations totaling a net profit of $717. Last December, video gaming had increased to nine locations throughout Hickory Hills with a combined number of 37 machines, totaling a net profit of $5,900.
“As you can see, increasing the number of locations and machines increased the revenue dramatically from the start of 2013 in January through December,” Schramm added.
The city receives a five percent share on the total net profit monthly from each location, with 30 percent of the total net profit going to the State of Illinois. The city’s year-to-date grossed revenue from video gaming stands at $4,200.
Jan. 2014, the city saw in increase of interest again in video gaming as three more locations introduced the machines, resulting in 48 machines in 12 locations throughout Hickory Hills, totaling in a net profit of $6,300.
Schramm added two of the locations that added video gaming machines in January failed to see any profits; Les Brothers, 7730 W 95th St., due to its closing for renovations as a result of a kitchen fire, and Stella’s Place, 8067 W 95th St., for opening later on during the month.
“Les Brothers actually lost money for purchasing the machines when they did,” Schramm said.
The city received a total of 15 application listings for video gaming, with 12 locations running actively.
Three of the locations are still pending approval or awaiting the machines. The 12 active gaming locations are: Great Wall Restaurant, 8110 W 95th St., Janosiak’s Banquets, 9126 S. Roberts Rd., Stella’s, 8067 W 95th St., Kowal’s, 9401 S Roberts Rd., Dirty Sock, 9300 S. Roberts Rd., Roadhouse, 9090 S. Roberts Rd., Aunt D’s, 8703 W 95th St., Primetime, 7750 W 95th St., Les Bros Restaurant, 7730 W 95th St., Nick & Vito’s, 9644 S. Roberts Rd., Cravens, 8833 W. 87th St. and Hickory Hills Properties.
“Once an application is received, it still takes about 90 days to receive the machines if their application is accepted,” City Clerk, Dee Catizone said before last Thursday’s city council meeting. “If businesses or banquet halls within the city are interested in having these machines up and running come spring or summer time, I suggest they get their applications in soon.”
Three businesses are seeing the largest activity from video gaming in their locations: Primetime, Roberts Roadhouse and Janosik Banquets. Besides the two restaurant/bar locations, Mayor Mike Howley noted Janosik Banquets is probably seeing such an excellent turnout in video gaming activity due to wedding receptions, dinner events and other large banquet events hosting a large number of people, especially from out of town.
Some locations, including Aunt D’s Wine Bar, 8703 W 95th St., have stopped by at senior citizen events throughout the community handing out coupons and flyers to help promote their businesses.
“This brings in residents who wouldn’t normally go into these businesses, or maybe they didn’t even know they were out there, and once they visit them they see and take part in the video gaming,” Howley added.
Hickory Hills is hoping for a continued rise in both video gaming activity and locations in 2014.
• The council announced the retirement of Deputy Director of Public Works Regan Rice, who has been with the city for 39 years.