Former Illinois State Representative pleads not guilty to a bribery charge tied to sweepstakes machine legislation

State News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA)– A former Illinois representative pleaded not guilty to bribery charges earlier this week.

Luis Arroyo was charged for accepting bribes tied to sweepstakes machine legislation in the capitol. Now a lawmaker in Springfield wants to ban those machines.

Sweepstakes machines operate very similarly to video gambling machines, but they don’t actually give out money when you win. Instead, they give out coupons or vouchers for cash. This allows these machines to slip through state law, and not regulated by the Illinois gaming board.

Prosecutors are accusing Arroyo of taking bribes to help legislation that will help sweepstakes machines through the capitol and to block legislation that would hurt them, like representative Tim Butler’s bill to include them with other gambling machines in the law.

State Rep. Tim Butler said that Sweepstakes machines operate in a very gray area of the law.

“Sweepstakes machines go around the law. They are not state-regulated. They are not locally regulated. They do not pay taxes. They don’t have to go through background checks like people who operate video gaming machines. And they operate just like video gaming machines. You put in money, you get a ticket back, and you give it to a bartender and you get cashback. They operate in a very gray area of the law.” Butler said.

Butler introduced his bill back in October before veto session, but it has yet to make it out of committee. Since arroyo pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, 15 members of the house singed on as co-sponsors of butler’s legislation.

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