More than $55 million went back to Illinois municipalities from video gaming in 2016. But how do those communities use those funds?
Springfield Budget Director Bill McCarty says the city received about $1.5 million from video gaming last year. Those funds generally contribute to the city’s capital improvement projects, like sidewalk and street maintenance.
However, McCarty says, they haven’t had to dip into the video gaming money yet, thanks to a sales tax increase also contributing to the capital fund.
“We’re using it for a need that was identified within the community by our residents as something that we were behind on.”
Peoria uses video gaming money for the same purpose. City Manager Patrick Urich says, while video gaming has helped local bar owners, it’s actually negatively affected the city’s nearby riverboat casino.
“They’re seeing additional revenue coming in, and that’s hurting the revenues that Peoria and East Peoria used to see that was coming from the riverboat casino.”
DeKalb received more than $150,000 from video gaming in the community. The city’s finance director Cathy Haley says that money contributed to about one percent of DeKalb’s general revenue fund, which subsidizes police, fire and public works.
Loves Park got more than $700,000 back, and the city also uses those funds for those purposes. However, mayor Darryl Lindberg says Loves Park is one of about 30 communities in the state that doesn’t have property tax. So, he says, every little bit helps.
“We’ve always been within our budget since the city was formed in 1947, so we’re pretty proud of that,” Lindberg said. “A lot of cities are in the red and we’re not; we’re in the black. So that’s pretty nice.”