Rockford adjusts to new gaming tax increase

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — Lawmakers passed the Video Gaming Act a decade ago, but now the tax rate for those machines is set to increase.

According to City Administrator Todd Cagnoni, in 2018, Rockford brought in over $1.7 million in revenue from video gaming.

Now, Rockford is poised to bring in even more. The tax rate for video gaming machines jumps to 33 percent – a jump of three percentage points. That will increase both the state and the city’s haul.

“There’s a particular formula within the statute that sets that forth,” Cagnoni said.

But that’s not all. The new legislation also has a specific tax increase for Rockford.

“There was legislation that allowed the City of Rockford to adjust the fee we charge per gaming machine,” Cagnoni said.

The fee jumps $225, so we looked at the math.

Rockford used to charge an annual fee of $25 per machine. If you multiply that times last year’s total number of video gaming machines in the city (460), you get a measly $11,500.

But now, the city can charge $250, which would bring the total to $115,000.

So, what does the city plan to do with that extra cash?

“The City of Rockford has already determined that the dollars they receive from video gaming will go for capital purchases,” Cagnoni explained. “So at this point in time, we’re using that to support the expenses we have related to vehicle purchasing.”

The city administrator said that in addition to cars, capital purchases could also include repairs to police and fire stations.

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