Gov. Bruce Rauner has frozen all the money cities and towns in Illinois make from video gambling and riverboat casinos until a state budget passes.
Gamblers can still spend their own money, but the city or town cannot collect or use it. The move is the latest maneuver in the governor's push to get a state budget passed, but for those who rely on those funds, it spells trouble.
Since Illinois approved video gaming a few years ago, it has become very popular. Without a state budget, however, Rauner announced Tuesday that he will not send the state share to the towns with the machines.
"The state does not have appropriation authority to distribute local municipalities their shares from video gambling because Speaker Madigan and the legislators he controls failed to pass a balanced budget," Catherine Kelly, a spokesperson for the governor, said in a statement.
Video gambling is fairly new, but towns like Oak Lawn have come to rely on it in their budget. Oak Lawn receives 5 percent of the net profits from the gambling.
"It's painful across the board," Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury said. "I think when everyone just can't stand it anymore it'll get resolved."
Oak Lawn has 30 restaurants and bars with video gambling, and the village anticipates more than $400,000 in revenue this year. The money from video gambling helps fill a much-needed hole for public safety salaries.