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Wanna bet? You have plenty of options in Illinois

Freeport Journal Standard

Wednesday, September 13, 2017  |  Editorial  |  Editor

Gambling, Gaming
Depending on your point of view, video gaming is one of Illinois’ success stories as revenue continues to increase every year. Or, it’s a sad story of Illinoisans spending money they don’t really have in an effort to get rich quick. No matter how you look at it, or what your preferred form of placing a bet, there are a lot of dollars attached to gaming in Illinois. Here are the latest statistics from the annual wagering report from the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. It’s the 25th anniversary of the report. $2.6 billion: Gaming revenues from riverboats and video gaming in fiscal year 2017, a 6.4 percent increase from the previous year and a 58.9 percent increase since the beginning of video gaming five years ago. $1.3 billion: The state’s share of tax revenue from all wagering, a 7.9 percent increase. Yes, gambling is a taxing business. $1.2 billion: Net income from video gaming. “But while video gaming has flourished, the established gaming sources in Illinois have seen stagnated sales (Lottery) or declining revenues (riverboat casinos and horse racing),” the report says. $300.5 million: What the state of Illinois collected in tax revenues from 26,873 video gaming machines for the 12-month period that ended June 30. State revenue from video gaming totaled $255.2 million from 23,891 terminals the prior fiscal year. Video gaming has seen robust increases every year in the five years since it became legal. 27,000: The number of video gaming machines surpassed that mark in July and is projected to increase to 28,000 by the middle of next year. $60.1 million: Local government revenue from gaming machines, up from $51 million. Rockford collected $29.8 million from 451 terminals during the just-ended fiscal year, the second highest total in the state. Springfield is No. 1 with $30.1 million from 635 machines. Stephenson County has 197 terminals, which created about $8.8 million in net terminal income, creating $2 million in tax revenue for the state and $440,890 for the county. About $6.5 million of that income came from Freeport. $1.4 billion. The adjusted gross receipts of Illinois’ 10 casinos, a 1.6 percent decline. Eight of the 10 casinos had declines in their adjusted gross receipts. The Rivers Casino in Des Plaines was up 1.1 percent and the Hollywood Casino in Aurora was up 1.3 percent. The Par-a-Dice Casino in East Peoria had the largest decline at 8.2 percent. $393 million. State revenues from riverboat gambling, a 1.9 percent decline. Still, riverboats bring in a lot of money for the state. Would it be more if Rockford and four other Illinois communities were allowed to have casinos, as has been proposed on multiple occasions? We’d like to find out. $2.85 billion. Sales for the Illinois Lottery, a decline of $14 million, or 0.5 percent. Most of the gaming-related state tax revenue ($738 million) comes from the lottery. The Common School Fund received $720.3 million, an increase of $43.4 million, or 6.4 percent. “This total is somewhat misleading as $14.5 million of FY 2016 money slipped into FY 2017 due to the time necessary to process the transfer from the Lottery to the Office of the Comptroller during the last weekly transfer in FY 2016,” the report says. $1 billion: The projected increase in adjusted gross receipts if Illinois allows a Chicago casino, five new riverboats and three racinos, i.e. video gaming at horse tracks.)