Illinois Village Taxes Arcade Out of Business

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.

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42 comments

  1. Xveers says:

    Did you know that half the things on this list didn’t even exist 100 years ago?

     

    Best keep your wits about you: The gears of life are always spinning, and ignorance eventually means you’ll get caught in them.

  2. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Mmm I think a 25% sales tax on everything sold(service or goods) would be better, the breakdown would be 16/6/3  one simple and effianct system with half the bureaucracy which would save the government billions alone.


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes
    of transportation of story and thought, to take them from
    society and you create a society of children and nannys.


    http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/

  3. Weatherlight says:

    According to the city I live in Arcades, Movie theaters, Hobby stores ect which are popular among younger people, cause an increase in crime and are not wanted in the city.

    ~Weatherlight~

  4. sqlrob says:

    There’s a Dave & Busters like thing called Main Event. I haven’t been there to know if they have alcohol.

    Nolan Bushnell also has something, but the name escapes me at the moment

     

  5. Wolvenmoon says:

    What do you expect?

    There’s monetary pressure on places like this and MMORPGs to extract money from them. This should be a warning to people trying to tax virtual transactions-there is no extra money to wring from these places. However, in a government that spends over a trillion annually, there are plenty of cuts to be made.

    I.E. stop taxing citizens directly and require businesses to collect at the payroll level. All money transactions in the U.S. eventually pass through the payroll level. The difference is there are 302 million U.S. citizens, requiring a huge IRS to manage, and only 6 million businesses.

    Congrats, there’s at least 10 billion annually in reclaimed revenue right there. More than if they directly owned the top 5 MMORPGs with no overhead. (Don’t know about second life, so not counting that one)

    Also saves a ton of grief, of course, we can look forward to more inefficient multitudes of miniature taxes that nibble away at our funds. It’s much like, instead of getting a hair cut, having individual hairs plucked then the remainder bent back into the empty hair follicles and snipped one by one.

    "But what about state and local taxes?"

    Example taxes done at a business:

    Total employee pay : 40,000

    Federal tax 20% : $8,000

    State tax 15% : $6,000

    Local tax 5% : $2,000

    Meaning there would only be 3 taxes to be paid, and of course the numbers wouldn’t be that clean, but it’d be much easier than the ugly BS we have today. Of course the idea would need refinement, and import/export fees would need to remain.

  6. TBoneTony says:

    Sometimes, I think that Illinois govenment thinks that they don’t need Arcades because they are run by adults who don’t understand Arcade games…

    They go as far as putting a TAX on arcade machines that run them out of business…

    Sad that they do that to something so special to videogaming….

     

     

  7. ZippyDSMlee says:

    At one time arcades and blowing alleys are generate large revenue thus fees towns and cities place on them are a way for them to gain money from them. However as time goes by the home entertainment center replaces arcades and even gnaws on what theaters bring in. High fees if left un altered for the items will only close more business and end that stream of revue for the town or city.


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes
    of transportation of story and thought, to take them from
    society and you create a society of children and nannys.


    http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/

  8. ssoltero says:

    So I wonder how much higher the youth crime rate is now…

    Or how many "teen pregnancies" thier little town will encounter in the coming months…

    Or how many of these kids will double their weed intake now that there is no distractions.

    Salty

  9. Weatherlight says:

    I know of two hobby shops, an arcade, a collectibles shop and a gaming/arcade place that were all run out of the city due to tax hike and additional burdens put on them by the city because the city didn’t want them there. The nearest gaming center to me where you can actually play any type of video/arcade game is 40 minutes away and they sell phones during the day. The only real exception being the movie theaters and they will have all of 3 games, a pinball machine, a shooter (like big game hunter), and race car game. Thats it. 

    At least these guys it doesn’t seem like the city did it intentionally more as a side effect of being greedy.

    ~Weatherlight~

  10. hayabusa75 says:

    Yeah, I’m not surprised that this happened in the state Blagojevich was running.  I find it funny how he continues to maintain his innocence.  "But I didn’t do anything!"  "Yeah, because you got caught planning it first, jackass!"

    "There is no sin except stupidity." – Oscar Wilde

  11. 1AgainstTheWorld says:

    I’m in Illinois, and I am deeply embarrassed by the government in my state.  First Rod Blagajgavojgavoajogjgavoich (however the fuzuck you spell his name) and now this.

  12. jccalhoun says:

    Anyone here living in Illinois? Because of the whole “alcohol” angle I’m wondering if this law was really intended to tax video poker machines rather than videogame arcades. I know that there is riverboat gambling in Illinois but can bars have video poker?

    http://www.popularculturegaming.com

  13. Praetorian says:

    You have to remember that the older arcade games don’t turn the money like they used to.

    That being said, to those who still appreciate the joy of watching a yellow circle eating meds while getting chased after by bed sheets, this is a very sad event.

    Now that the games have been removed, kids will become violent and not be able to tell fact from fantasy and the crime rate will go through the roof.

    Next we will get a report that says the games at the arcade made the kids violent.

    Praetorian

    "I’ve been told I’m the resident skeptic, but I wouldn’t believe that."

    ECA Seattle Chapter

    http://www.myspace.com/pree_tawr_ee_uhn

  14. Adamas Draconis says:

    Quite a few bars here in Alabama have arcade machines, and pool tables and such. Not sure what they get taxed for it, but It’s $1.00 a pool game now when it used to be $.50.

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  15. nightwng2000 says:

    See my post above.  It sounds like there is a lack of specialization between types of businesses and what they offer.  Plus idiocy on the part of the game companies.  Yes, even an hour later I’m still pissed off.  >:(

    Nightwng2000

    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

  16. finaleve says:

    Seriously?  I would inform the kids that come of whats going on, and have their parents get involved.  From there, at the next town meeting, they would bring up the issue of taxing the machines.  That way, they have a chance for the officials to realize that they are messed up big time…maybe even pay back some of the money from the taxes.  If they actually go through with it, they need to act soon.

    The only place, today, that sells alcohol along with having arcades is Dave & Busters…as far as I know.

  17. KayleL says:

    Oh, I guess the american income tax came much earlier before the canadian income tax or something because that’s what my history teacher said, which is more reliable then wikipedia.

  18. KayleL says:

    You forgot about the biggest tax of them all. Income tax. Income tax came around due to the world wars. It was suppose to be "temporary"

  19. SeanB says:

    I don’t see your point, or how it relates to this business having to pay an additional $2500 in taxes, just because it has some arcade machines.

  20. sortableturnip says:

    Did you know that the following taxes didn’t exist 100 years ago?

    Accounts Receivable Tax
    Building Permit Tax
    CDL License Tax
    Cigarette Tax
    Corporate Income Tax
    Dog License Tax
    Federal Income Tax
    Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
    Fishing License Tax
    Food License Tax
    Fuel Permit Tax
    Gasoline Tax
    Hunting License Tax
    Inheritance Tax
    Inventory Tax
    IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
    IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
    Liquor Tax
    Luxury Tax
    Marriage License Tax
    Medicare Tax
    Property Tax
    Real Estate Tax
    Service charge taxes
    Social Security Tax
    Road Usage Tax (Truckers)
    Sales Taxes
    Recreational Vehicle Tax
    School Tax
    State Income Tax
    State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
    Telephone Federal Excise Tax
    Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
    Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax
    Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
    Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
    Telephone State and Local Tax
    Telephone Usage Charg e Tax
    Utility Tax
    Vehicle License Registration Tax
    Vehicle Sales Tax
    Watercraft Registration Tax
    Well Permit Tax
    Workers Compensation Tax

  21. JustChris says:

    They were probably thinking something along the lines of Dave & Buster’s. Which is a very different scenario because they’re an entertainment chain, not one independently owned business.

    GameSnooper

  22. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    IDIOTIC Illinois Village IDIOT Taxes Arcade Out of Business.

    Like it, EZK?

    ——————————————————————————

    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  23. SeanB says:

    What? There’s nothing wrong with taxes. Taxes are how the goverment gives us the things we need from them. Without taxes you wouldn’t have roads and all those other things you take for granted.

    (uh, sir, nobody can afford thier taxes, which means we have no money anyway)

    Oh, well then just raise the taxes!

  24. HungryHungryHomer says:

    Ding Ding Ding! Correct!

    We also would have accepted:

     Village Idiot Taxes Arcade Out of Business

     

     

  25. nightwng2000 says:

    GP, sorry to complain as I don’t do so often, but your final paragraph is confusing.

    These are from the Courier’s article itself:

    "Trustee Jan Kraus said village officials set the fees several years ago, and set them so high partly because the companies that own the machines usually pay any tax."

    Ok, well, zap the the owners of the companies that own the machines.  Does that mean that the small business is RENTING the video game machines?  I’m a little confused on that.

    "Pearson said her family contacted six other game companies, and none would pay the tax unless her establishment served alcohol."

    Again, a little confusing.  Are they contacting the game companies who they will RENT the video game machines from?  If so, then I’ve got a MAJOR, BIG, HONKIN’ BEEF with the video game companies.  It really, really ticks me off about that requirement.

    "But Village Administrator Eric Palm said the restaurants around the I-90/Route 20 interchange "each have several amusement devices. Some of them have more than 10 devices. To my knowledge, there is no liquor served at these locations, either, and in most cases the game companies seem to be paying the fee. We don’t get the checks from Travel America or from BP.""

    Ah, but what KIND of video games are in those places?  Are we talking arcade games (Ms Pacman and Air Hockey) or video poker/cards (even if they offer points, prizes, money, or something along those lines)?  I’ve seen some restaurants with a type of multi video game system that has includes cards and a few arcade games that is paid for and played for fun only.

    But, at the same time, I think the tax needs to have the purpose of the business distinguished as well.

    "The companies that own the machines will maintain them and split the proceeds 50-50 with the store owner. But that $250 fee adds up to a lot of kids’ quarters, she says."

    Ok, so they DO rent the machines.  Yeah, I’m becoming more and more pissed off at the game companies right now.

    ""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." "

    yup.  I haven’t looked up info on Hampsire, so I don’t know population numbers or what other businesses are in Hampshire (community centers, boys and girls clubs, other potential non-profit free or paid for hangouts, etc), but I’m willing to bet SOMETHING is going to give.  Either other businesses are going to see a boom in kids being signed up, maybe being overburdened, or Hampshire is going to see a boom in the number of kids hanging out on the streets.

    No, the loss of a video game hangout will NOT mean the end of the world or even the end of Hampsire or a massive rise in the crime rate or some other exaggerated nonsense.  But there WILL be an impact, perhaps for the negative, for Hampsire and the youngest of the population.

    Nightwng2000

    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

  26. Ghost Coins says:

    Tragically, I can see that as a possible reason too.

    To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful. Edward R. Murrow

  27. hellfire7885 says:

    I’m tempted to say the tax was levied in hopes of wiping out the arcade and shutting up a few worried parents.

     

    Still, chalk it up to political idiocy.


  28. Ghost Coins says:

    hmm….take the income taxes on the machines and have a steady, albeit not substantial, source of income and a venue for the youth to go and have afterschool activities provided by a community rather than having to pony up coin for afterschool activities at the taxpayers expense, OR…tax the living hell out of said venue and watch revenue go out the window along with damaging the capacity of an after-school venue due to a hideous lack of foresight.  This is actually worse than the idiot in South Carolina trying to outlaw profanity.  The SCotUS has already ruled on the profanity issue, however there are no pending lawsuits or precedence set on mitigating stupidity in elected officials.

    To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful. Edward R. Murrow

  29. Charax says:

    The logical conclusion here is that Hampshire, Illinois wants Arcades to sell alcohol alongside other snacks. I’m sure that would go down well.

  30. Krono says:

    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.

    Brilliant work doing your research there village officials.

    -Gray17

  31. gameman9 says:

    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.

    *faceplam*

  32. Nocturne says:

    Yet another Arcade hears the death knell. This is getting very depressing, there’s none at all left where I live now, the last one at the local cinema got moved out for a coffee shop…"sigh"

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