Recent Case Interprets Video Gaming Act

Author: William C. Westfall

March 4, 2016

In the last few months, the First District Appellate Court has dealt with a variety of cases concerning video gaming. We previously reported on these emerging video gaming cases in December 2015. In one such case, Illinois Coin Machine Operators Association v. County of Cook, the appellate court affirmed these prior decisions, while also avoiding any real substantive discussion regarding the specific dollar amount of fees, licenses, and taxes.

In this case, four arguments were made by the Plaintiffs, most of which have already been unsuccessfully argued:

  • The responsibility and tax at issue were not matters of local government, and, as such, the authority to regulate lies with the State.
  • The Riverboat Gambling Act preempts the County’s home rule authority.
  • The ordinance is an impermissible occupations tax.
  • The ordinance was an impermissible license for revenue.

The Court summarily dismissed all of these arguments. In its holding, the Court stated that it is nonsensical to claim that a tax assessed by a home rule unit of government does not pertain to that unit of government’s affairs.  Furthermore, the issue of preemption was not at issue because the very law by which Plaintiffs relied on was not passed with a super-majority, which is required for any law that infringes upon a home rule unit’s ability to tax. Finally, the issues of occupational tax and license for revenue were denied on a similar basis as prior cases.

Despite the recent cases having been decided, there are more to come. The cases to come will likely hold more pressing issues and rulings.