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Illinois Video Gaming Act Goes Into Effect At 65 Establishments

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ILLINOIS VIDEO GAMING POKER
Chino Roberto Vasquez, owner of Chino's Pizzeria celebrates a winning hand on one of the new legal video poker machines, in his restaurant Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, in Justice, Ill. Video gaming went live in 65 Illinois bars and restaurants on Tuesday, more than three years after lawmakers approved it as a way to help raise billions to help fix schools and roads. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) | AP

Chicago gaming enthusiasts will have to venture outside of city limits to test out the new video poker machines that finally descended on Illinois Tuesday three years after the process began.

Sixty-five spots, including bars, restaurants and veteran's associations, now have the machines, according to ABC Chicago, including several near the city. Though Chicago and many other municipalities had existing gambling bans or opted out of the legislation, video gaming was legalized in a 2009 effort to raise money for the state's schools and roads.

The Associated Press reports that initial estimates had the state bringing in $375 million annually from their 25 percent cut of the profits, though that did not take into account the many bans on the machines.

Local municipalities receive five percent of the games' profits and the remaining 70 percent is split by business owners and the game operators.

Implementing the law was held up by a lawsuit challenging video gambling legality from Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, opposition from church groups, errors in the bidding process and staff shortages, according to the AP.

The legislation outlaws older machines found in some bars that didn't dispense money and is hoped to curb the under-the-table gambling that went along with them, according to CBS Chicago.

Look forward to seeing lots of poker players across the state: the gaming board said the state could be home to as many as 75,000 machines within the year.

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