CHAMPAIGN — Video gambling has come to the University of Illinois campus.
Legends sports bar on Green Street in Champaign announced on its Facebook page on Friday afternoon that it has begun offering video gambling.
Legends features four video gambling machines — including “Illinois Pick’n’Play,” “Bonus Deuces Wild,” “Vegas Jackpot” and “Secrets of the Forest” — in a cordoned off area of the bar.
A sign in front of the terminals says it is a restricted area, with a note that says, “You must be 21 years old to be in the gambling area.”
Nobody at Legends was authorized to speak to media about the bar’s new addition.
While nobody was playing the four machines early Friday evening, Josh Jansen of Arlington Heights said he had won about $10 earlier in the day.
“They are very much like the machines you would see at a riverboat casino,” Jansen said. “It wasn’t hard to play.”
Susie Nettles of Aurora said she was waiting for other people to start playing before she would try her hand at the machines.
“I’m a penny gambler, but these machines look like they would be a lot of fun,” Nettles said.
University of Illinois Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Renée Romano said having a gambling site in Campustown is a concern.
“We are concerned about it because we believe that gambling can be a problem for college students,” Roman said on Friday evening. “We know that gambling can be a problem.”
John W. Kindt, professor of business and legal policy at the University of Illinois, said he believes having gambling machines in Campustown may become a new temptation for college students.
“I don’t think having that temptation so close to campus is a good idea at all,” Kindt said. “People can get addicted and find themselves spending too much money on gambling. Having this so close to campus is a problem and a temptation for young people who many not make good decisions. I don’t think this distraction should be so readily available.”
According to the Illinois Gaming Board, there are currently 14 licensed applicants for video gaming in Champaign County, including seven in Champaign, two in Rantoul, two in Savoy, one in Mahomet, one in Tolono and one in Urbana.