The casino industry in Illinois has generated significant revenue over the years but for the first time has been outdone by video gambling machines for the fiscal ending in June 2017.
The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability report showed that casinos in Illinois generated $270 million for this year which was a $7 million drop when compared to 2017. Video gambling machines did a lot better and generated $296 million for the state.
Illinois allowed video gambling machines to operate from 2012 and since then they have grown in popularity. The casino industry on the other hand has been sluggish for the last 12 months and all casinos reported lower revenues when compared to 2016, except for the Hollywood Casino in Aurora and Rivers Casino in Des Plaines.
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One of the reasons for their poor showing is because the number of casino visitors has declined considerably. Illinois imposes a $2 casino fee per visitor and revenues from entrance fees show a 6 percent decline in visitor numbers which has cost the state government nearly $1.5 million in entrance fees.
Video gambling machines increased by 12.5 percent during the last year and video gambling revenues have also climbed as the state recorded an increase of 17.5 percent when compared to 2016, which was an increase of nearly $44 million. Video gambling machines are expected to continue to go well in Illinois as they are subjected to lesser restrictions when compared to casino gambling.
The revenue from video gambling machines is split between the state, local government, business owners and terminal operators. Business owners and terminal operators receive a 35 percent cut each while the local government receives 5 percent and the state takes 25 percent. The video gambling industry, state lottery and horse racing industry helped boost Illinois combined gambling revenues to $1.3 billion which was an increase of 7.9 percent.
In a statement, Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association
There's no doubt video gambling has had a significant impact on riverboat casinos. The market is oversaturated and revenues are just shifting from one spot to another
The horse racing industry remained stagnant in 2017 bringing in just $6 million from the remaining three race tracks. The state lottery has continued to do well and accounted for over 50 percent of all gambling revenue that the state collected. Illinois received $738 million from state lottery sales which was an 8.5 percent increase from 2016.