The Crusader Newspaper Group

Illinois casino revenue down $200m since 2012, as Chicago bets on casino

By, Dylan Sharkey, Illinois Policy

The casino industry for decades has been a significant contributor to the Illinois economy, but from 2012 to 2022 its seen a $200 million decline, according to data from the Illinois Gaming Board.

One of the reasons for the decline is the emergence of other forms of gaming which weren’t available to Illinoisans in 2012. Video gaming terminals, for example, have nearly doubled from $395 million in revenue during 2019 to $762 million in 2022.

They allow players to place bets on video poker and slot machines in local bars and restaurants, providing a more accessible and convenient experience than casinos.

Sports betting has quickly gained popularity, slightly edging out casino revenue $142 million to $140 million in 2022.

Chicago recently chose Bally’s to open a new casino in the River West neighborhood. A temporary casino at Medinah Temple is in review for approval to open this summer.

The new Bally’s casino could bring in as much as $200 million for the city and the money has been earmarked for first responders’ pensions. But the casino taxes are a pittance compared to the city’s $48 billion in unfunded pension debt.

Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson also said video gaming revenue is part of his plan for the city, but Chicago would need to legalize video gambling machines to do that.

A statement from Johnson’s spokesperson says he “is a supporter of legalized video gambling as an important revenue source for critical investments in public safety, transportation, housing and other public accommodations.” 

Overall, state gaming revenue was up to nearly $1.9 billion in fiscal year 2022, the highest ever and almost 39% higher than in 2021.

This article originally appeared on Illinois Policy.

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