Illinois video gambling terminals bring in more than land-based casinos

  • First time that video gambling has brought in more than land-based casinos
  • Intake from video gambling has outstripped that of casinos by over $25 million

This year, for the first time since its commencement in 2012, video gambling has brought in more money than land-based casinos in the state of Illinois. This is the word of the Illinois State Legislature’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.

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Their report has revealed that video gambling revenue increased by $44 million this year, marking a 17.5% rise over 2016. This news comes despite there only having been an increase of 12.5 in the amount of video gambling terminals installed in the state.

Casino admission

This marked increase is reported to be of concern to some groups, however. For example, executive director of the Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems Anita Bedell is reported as saying: “It’s especially dangerous for those who are having problems with gambling, and it’s very difficult for them to resist the temptation.”

During the 2017 financial year, Illinois raked in around $296 million from video gambling machines. However, during that same time, the state’s 10 land-based casinos brought in only $270 million, representing a decrease of around $7 million from 2016.

It is thought that casino admission rates dropping by 6% down to $2 has had a significant impact on income, having been responsible for the $1.5 million drop in admission taxes.

Online gambling in Illinois

In August, it was reported that Illinois could potentially become the fourth state to legalize online gambling. In fact, in June of this year, Illinois did pass – by a majority of 42 to 10 – a piece of legislation that would have legalized everything from daily fantasy sports to online poker.

It permitted many of the state’s casinos and racetracks to apply for online gambling licenses, as well as placing taxes for newly legalized daily fantasy sports on a sliding scale depending on income.

And while it seemed, at this stage, that internet betting could become legal, challenges were faced when it came to drafting together the final, all-inclusive bill.

The latest

More recently it has been reported that, next week and throughout the course of November, Illinois legislators will be looking into this issue. The sessions will predominantly be used for officials to discuss older, vetoed legalization bills.

That being said, several other bills – none of which have yet been received by the Governor for deliberation – may be discussed as well. These include three bills – called H 479, S 209, and S 1531 – that could be passed into law.

H 479 was previously passed by the Senate, and since it is “the furthest along,” it made sense to tackle that one in the upcoming talks. S 209 was only recently passed to the House Executive Committee’s Gaming Subcommittee for deliberation. And the last one, S 1531, is currently on the House floor.

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