Video gambling huge success at Illinois casinos' expense

Video gambling huge success at Illinois casinos' expense

October 18, 2017 10:02 AM
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In Illinois, video gambling has been a huge success for the state, but at the state’s casinos' expense. A new report says video gambling is now more profitable than casino gambling for the state.

The report issued by the Illinois State legislature's Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, reveals video gambling revenue rose by $44 million in 2017, a 17.5 percent increase over the previous year. The report notes that there was only a 12.5 percent increase in the number of video gambling terminals statewide.

The state took in $296 million from the machines during the 2017 fiscal year that ended June 30. During the same period, Illinois' 10 casinos generated $270 million for the state, a $7 million drop from the previous fiscal year.

"There's no doubt video gambling has had a significant impact on riverboat casinos," said Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association. "The market is oversaturated and revenues are just shifting from one spot to another."

Revenues from admissions to the casinos, at $2 per guest, have dropped nearly 6 percent this year. That alone has cost the state almost $1.5 million in admission taxes.