Illinois Gaming Machines in Flower Shops and Laundrymats Concern Officials and Residents

Video gambling parlors are appearing in businesses throughout the state of Illinois, alarming officials and residents. Video gaming parlors are known to have appeared in gas stations, florist shops, and laundry-mats. Many residents living in the communities where those businesses are located believe those gaming machines are a detriment to their town.

Comments from Illinois Residents

When asked whether he approves of the gaming machines which appeared in a local laundry-mat, Hillside resident Gary Cofield said, “Not in a laundrymat. I don’t think so.

Jim Estes, a state official who lives in Davenport, is blunt about his disdain for such unsightly displays. Estes said, “I’m not a fan. I think it’s kind of sleazy.

Kirsten Keeling, a native of Sherrard, said, “I think it’s a little ridiculous.” Reporters say that is the widespread reaction of those they talk to. People who approve of an 8-liner in a gas station don’t think it’s so harmless when they seem them at the florist or in the laundry-mat.

Legislators Say Changes Are Needed

Such sentiments have reached the state capitol. Illinois state legislators agree with Mrs. Keeling. Even State Representative Lou Lang, a Democrat from Chicago, says that the law may need to be changed. Lou Lang who wrote the current gaming bill which was passed in 2009, but has indicated that events on the ground have changed in the 5 years since that law was passed.

State Representative Mike Smiddy, a Democrat from Port Byron, agrees. He says lawmakers never envisioned gaming machines would appear in businesses like flower shops. Smiddy says, “I think we need to look at where they have been going like the flower shops and those types of things. I would be a little hesitant to say it would be okay to have them in those establishments. But places like gas stations and laundromats, where the restrictions were lifted, I think are perfectly fine We will have to see where he {lang} is taking a look at putting the restrictions back in place.”

Why Smiddy Sponsored the Bill

Smiddy told the KWCQ that he voted for an expansion of gaming law in 2013 in an attempt to help struggling businesses deal with the post-recession economy. Smiddy said, “With the economy the way it is and businesses struggling throughout this community and throughout the state of Illinois, I thought that it would be a good thing for us to open up different avenues for businesses to look at to try to help generate revenue.”

Mike Smiddy says he is unaware of problem gambling issues in his district. When he returns to the state house in January, he’ll speak with fellow representatives to see if they have heard about compulsive gambling stories in the communities.

Helping Local Businesses

Smiddy believes the gaming machines help local businesses stay competitive. So many mom-and-pop stores have gone out of business in the last generation, that many American communities are left with a Wal-Mart and a handful of gas stations open. In those circumstances, business owners need the support of lawmakers.

The state representative said, “We need to of course take a look at things and see where they are being put and how they are affecting the areas in which they have been put, but I am not one for saying we should not be generating revenue in certain ways, especially with the way the economy here in Illinois has gone.

One Business’s Story

Rana Barsema at the Hillsdale Shell says that the 5 gaming machines in their storefront have helped drive business. In the 18 months since her business put the machines into the store, customer volume is up. Rana Barsema says players often buy food and drinks while they play.

An Acceptable Deal

Michael Ridder, a resident of nearby Libertyville, told reporters while pumping gas at Hillsdell Shell, “Not being a big gambler, my general opinion is a revenue stream is a revenue stream, and wherever money can be gained for useful purposes, I think that’s an acceptable deal.

Ridder seems to embody the attitude of many live gamblers in Hillside. While it might seem a bit tacky to see gambling machines along the walls of laudrymats and floral shops, he believes the policy helps the struggling businesses.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on,, and

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