BUSINESS

Illinois video gambling business sets new highs

TAGs: Illinois, video gaming terminals

The state of Illinois continues to enjoy a robust video gambling business five years after legislators approved the legalization of gaming terminals.

Illinois video gambling business sets new highsData from the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability shows that Illinois pocketed $300.5 million in tax revenues from 26,873 machines for the 12-month period ending June 30.

State revenue from video gaming totaled $255.2 million from 23,891 terminals the prior fiscal year. Local government revenue from gambling terminals rose to $60.1 million from $51 million the year before.

Of all the cities in Illinois, Springfield has the most video gaming terminals. The city’s machines earned a little more than $30.1 million in net terminal income from 635 terminals in the year ended June 30.

That’s up from $29.2 million in net terminal income from 622 terminals in the 2016 fiscal year.

Behind Springfield is Rockford which collected $29.8 million from 451 terminals.

The Commission noted that there were only 61 machines when video gambling started in Illinois in September 2012. Between September 2012 and June 2014, an average of 838 new video gaming terminals were activated per month across Illinois.

By 2015, the number of new video gaming terminals started its downward trajectory. The monthly average slowed to 272 terminals and 263 terminals per month in the fiscal years of 2015 and 2016, respectively. In 2017, this rate slowed even further to an average of 249 new terminals per month.

Assuming that there will be no changes to the current state law, the commission estimated that the number of video gaming terminals in operation will approach 28,000 terminals by the end of FY 2018.

The number isn’t large enough yet to cause an alarm, according to the report, since the installed terminal base doesn’t show any signs that it has already reached its plateau.

Meanwhile, net terminal income in Illinois — the equivalent of gambling losses – was at $1.2 billion. Revenue from all forms of gambling totaled $1.3 billion, up 7.9 percent from the previous fiscal year. Increased video gaming revenue offset declines in lottery and riverboat casino receipts.

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