Illinois Casino Numbers Fall Short

Bans on gaming in Chicago and other communities are one big reason Illinois casino revenues have failed to meet expectations. State lawmakers will revisit a gaming expansion plan at a meeting later this month.

16,000 VLTs are competing with casinos

Casino gaming in Illinois has not produced the jackpot state officials once predicted.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, bans on casinos in Chicago and elsewhere mean there is less gaming in Illinois than originally forecast, hence less return for the state. And the presence of video lottery terminals in taverns is also taking a bite out of casino revenues.

Overall tax revenue from gaming has fallen short of the original mark of $345 million to $641 million, the Sun-Times reported. In February, Chicago-area casinos generated $17.7 million in total tax revenue, a 23 percent drop from the $23 million total generated in February 2012, before the tavern machines went live.

The tavern-based VLTs are meeting benchmarks, however, netting about $94 per day, more than the $70 to $90 anticipated. Statewide, there are some 16,000 VLTs; of the total win, the state gets 25 percent for capital projects. Local governments get 5 percent.