An Illinois village’s tax on video game machines has forced a small arcade to abandon its games, according to a report in the Courier News.
The Name Your Game store, located in the village of Hampshire, is described by its owners as a "favorite wholesome after-school hangout" that, in addition to games, offers snacks, collectible cards and clothing.
But proprietors Bob and Gina Pearson claim that a steep village tax of $250 annually per machine led them to dispose of their 10-game inventory. For local kids that means no more Glow-in-the-Dark Air Hockey, NASCAR Racing or Ms. Pac-Man. Said Gina Pearson:
We didn’t renew the licenses because the machines don’t even make what you charge in these astronomical fees… The game companies tell us this is one of the highest fees in Illinois. We wonder if the village really researched how big this should be or if they just slapped a number on it…
We had become a pretty big hangout for kids after school and weekends. But not having the video games this year has made a big impact in just the first two weeks.
A village official told the Courier News that officials set the fee high with the understanding that the game machine distribution companies pay. However, Gina Pearson indicated that such arrangements only occur with establishments which serve alcohol.