BATAVIA – The first video gaming machines recently arrived in Batavia at Crosstown Pub & Grill, 1890 Mill St, just east of Randall Road.
Batavia aldermen lifted the city’s ban on video gambling in a divided vote in November, with proponents saying they were responding to requests from local businesses, including Batavia Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1197, the downtown Bulldog’s Cellar and Crosstown Pub.
Business owners contended they need the machines for the revenue and to remain competitive with establishments in nearby communities that offer video gaming.
“We’re the only place in Batavia to get the machines so far, and we have found that we’ve gotten a lot of new customers [who] have not been before that are coming in to play the games, eat and drink,” said Jason Podlasek, vice president of operations for Crosstown Pub. “It’s bringing in more business.”
He said owner James Nichols of St. Charles had lobbied for passage of the ordinance before Batavia aldermen.
“We fought hard to get it at that location,” Podlasek said. “We are very familiar with it in other cities. I think it’s a good thing for the city of Batavia and all involved.”
Crosstown, which recently celebrated its second anniversary in Batavia, has the machines in a separate area apart from the bar and from the space where families usually dine on the opposite side off the entry, Podlasek said.
It is overseen by staffers age 21 and older who card players who look younger than 30, Podlasek said. One must be 21 or older to play.
He said four of the five machines offer a combination of slots and video poker options, and one is strictly slots, which starts at 10 cents per bet.
The Batavia ordinance allows taverns, restaurants, social clubs and entertainment venues to install the gaming machines, with the businesses subject to police compliance checks.
Under state law, municipalities receive 5 percent of revenues from the machines, which are limited to five machines per establishment.
Mark Foster contributed to this story.