Video Gaming Boosts Illinois Tax Revenue Bottom Line

By Jeremy Coumbes on September 17, 2019 at 5:59pm

Despite slumping casino revenues, Illinois brought in more tax money from gambling in the last fiscal year.

Tax revenue from casinos dropped by three million dollars while contributions from the state lotto and state related horse revenues were relatively unchanged according to a report on Wagering in Illinois released by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.

Overall, Illinois’ share of tax revenues from gambling in the state increased by 3.5% from FY 2018 levels to just over $1.4 billion in FY 2019.

Video gaming saw the largest increase in tax revenue collected by the state with the machines chipping in $395 million to the Capitol Projects fund, which is an increase of $48 million in FY 2019.

The upswing in video gaming is is almost certainly due to the growth of the segment, with over 3000 new terminals coming online this year.

The Associated Press reports that the new tax data comes as Illinois lawmakers have given the green light for six new casinos, and legalized sports betting, in a sweeping gambling expansion bill signed into law in June. The move is expected to provide the state more tax dollars and generate jobs for local communities.

But Eric Noggle, a state revenue analyst and one of the authors of the report, cautioned lawmakers and others not to be overly-optimistic. Based on this year’s tax numbers, he believes gambling expansion might not be the jackpot some have trumpeting.

The report warned competition from other states and over-saturation within Illinois might make all the new gambling options, particularly the new casinos, less lucrative.

Noggle cautioned that the state is investing in something, especially with the casinos, that has been on a continued downward trend.