Video Gambling Sees Significant Growth in Illinois

Apparently, video gaming has been good for the state of Illinois. A new report from the state says that video gambling has increased more than 75 percent in the last three years. Many lawmakers in Illinois are pointing to the growth of video gambling as an indication the state may want to increase its gambling offerings.

Gambling in Illinois

video gambling machinesIllinois has been called moderately restrictive in terms of gambling. Illinois has had casino gambling since 2012. While the state has gambled at on racetracks for decades, other forms of gambling have been recent entries. The Illinois Legislature allowed gambling on riverboats beginning in the 2012 and expanded the areas allowed to have casino gambling to include areas that were not on riverboats. This was seen as a move to draw people from Chicago out to the suburbs to gamble. Gambling is not allowed in metropolitan Chicago.

Illinois also allows charitable gambling in places such as bingo parlors for over 20 years as well.

However, video gambling has been a more recent addition to the state.

Video Gambling

The state of Illinois does allow video gambling, but instead of having the regulation be statewide, it is instead regulated by the townships or communities separately. Usually, video gaming terminals are either video poker machines, or video slot machines. In Illinois currently all of the terminals that are legal in the state are slot machines, which means winners are generated by random number order. After the Illinois Legislature passed a regulation that allows video gambling, there are nearly 6000 locations in the state. Each of these locations, most located in bars and restaurants, can have up to five machines.

The Profit for the Communities

The report found that in total, video gambling machines took in $1.4 billion in net income for the fiscal year of 2018. This means that $70 million worth of tax revenues went to local governments for their use.

While video gambling was the last addition to the gambling marketplace in Illinois, it has been the most profitable. There are over 11,000 individual gaming machines in the Chicago metropolitan area alone, which is the equivalent of nine casinos in the area. While rare at first, gambling machines have moved into bars, restaurants, and truck stops.

The riverboat casinos’ revenue stream has dropped nearly 20 percent in the six years since they were legalized. Horse racing revenues have also dropped.

Communities that have video gambling machines have used the revenue for a variety of things. For example, some communities use it to help finance social programs, such as gambling addiction, as well as community service programs and educational programs. Revenues from gambling have also been used to work on the infrastructure of their towns. For example, video gaming money has been used to add to park and green space in communities, as well as to repair parks that have been run down. Road repairs have also been funded with video gambling money. In some areas, funding has been used to revitalize the downtown areas that were run down when the business moved out to the suburbs.

While many communities love the revenue that video gambling brings in, not everyone was excited. In fact business owners argue that the popularity of video gaming is a problem. Owners argue that the sheer number of video gambling machines means that the market is saturated. Also, some gambling companies argue that the dilution of gambling money may be good for the communities, but bad for the state as a whole, because the state benefits less from the gambling profits from video gambling. Some legislators have called for additional legislation that will send more of the video gambling profits to the state so the whole state can benefit from the video gambling craze.

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A Massachusetts native, blogger Angeline Everett grew up in the Allston neighborhood of Boston and earned a degree in casino management from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. After graduating, Angeline moved to Atlantic City where she joined the young team at the Borgata Casino as a compliance representative, while blogging on the side. After a few years in the back office, Angeline moved to the floor to work first at a casual poker dealer and later casual poker floor supervisor. Fascinated with games of chance since she was a child, Angeline currently divides her time between blogging and work on her first book.