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Video Gaming Helping Savanna VFW

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Video gambling is up and running in Illinois and many veteran's organizations credit the machines with keeping their posts alive.

Savanna's VFW post installed video gaming machines about one year ago.

The commander says the income helps, but, the organization needs to update its demographics.

Savanna's VFW faces the same challenge nearly all veteran's groups do.

Memberships are expiring as veterans grow older and their numbers are not being replaced quickly enough.

Enter video gambling, for the Savanna VFW, it is helping boost profits, but it may also attract new people through the door.

"We've noticed a little bit of a difference in the clientele that play those machines," says Savanna VFW post commander Bruce Mottin.

He says the difference is younger people. That's key for the post's future.

"You don't see people that are 70 to 75 years old staying up till midnight, out honkey tonking anymore you know," says Mottin.

That age group represents a growing chunk of the Savanna post's current membership. They've adjusted the hours to close earlier, losing out on potentially profitable evening hours. Mottin says they need more people to come in overall.

"There's a lot of people that stick their head in the door and say we don't belong to the VFW, can we come in? Well the answer is yes," says Mottin.

The post relies on bar and video gaming sales to keep the doors open and funding for social causes alive. Video gambling pays the big bills. Bartender Steven Bradley says people come in to gamble.

"Everyday there are a few people up playing the machine, we've got a few diehards that are here every day and every once in a while, people will come and say oh you've got gambling machines," says Bradley.

"This is holding us steady, it's holding us steady right now, we're not losing money," says Mottin.

Holding steady, as the post navigates a world with fewer veterans, but just as many demands for money.

State records for the month of May show the VFW post's gaming machines netted $9,000.

Some of that money goes to the machine operators.

The city of Savanna also gets a small percentage of all proceeds.

 

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