Video gaming

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Six new casinos are planned for Illinois. Lawmakers expect hefty tax revenue, but the casinos also raise the risk of problem gambling. 

Chase Cavanaugh

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill at the end of June that allows six new casinos and legalizes sports betting. Rockford is the site of one such casino, and it could significantly contribute to local and state revenue.

A comprehensive gambling bill has been a repeated priority in the state legislature for several years. One of its biggest supporters has been Republican State Sen. Dave Syverson. He says a major concern is gambling dollars being lost to surrounding states. 

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

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.

Illinois Senate Considers Expanded Gambling Bill

Jan 26, 2017
Yamaguchi先生/CC SA 3.0

The Illinois Senate began hearings Wednesday on a gambling expansion bill that calls for new casinos in Rockford, Chicago and its south suburbs, Danville, Lake County, and Williamson.  Critics say the market is oversaturated with riverboats and video gaming.  But Sen. Terry Link, D-Gurnee, says buses of people still are leaving the state to gamble.  

"I have a funny feeling those buses might be empty when Lake County, Rockford, Danville, and Chicago end up with a casino," he said, "because I think you're going to stop a lot of that exporting of our money to those other states."

DONE IN COLLABORATION WITH SUMMER 2016 DATA VISUALIZATION COURSE, DEPARTMENT OF COMPUTER SCIENCE, NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY (APARAJITA DESHPANDE)

The council voted 6-1 earlier this week to put a hold on issuing licenses until mid-March.

This comes as aldermen plan to discuss regulations of gaming facilities, such as the distance between two locations. 

DeKalb Mayor John Rey says a third license was approved just before the halt.

“And I think it made sense for us to deal with those that were already applied, but to offer a moratorium until city council has an opportunity to think through the ongoing guidelines for video gaming establishments in the community," Rey said.

    

done in collaboration with summer 2016 data visualization course, Department of Computer Science, Northern Illinois University (Mohammed Jaffer Ali)

Video gaming machines have been popping up in Illinois bars and restaurants for nearly four years. For the most part, the increase in gaming machines and in revenue across the state has been steady.

Database: Check revenue reports in your community

There are nearly 24,000 video gaming machines in Illinois, and the amount played over the last few years is in the billions of dollars -- with a b. 

Lawmaker Concerned About 'Video Gaming Malls'

Sep 17, 2015
Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Video gaming has proliferated in Illinois.

A new state report says that as of June, there were nearly 21,000 video poker machines in Illinois.

Chicago doesn't allow video gaming; even so, there are more terminals in the Chicago metropolitan area than anywhere else in Illinois.

After Cook County, the most machines are in Winnebago, Lake, Will, and Sangamon Counties. The capital city of Springfield tops the list for most video gaming terminals in the state, with nearly 550.

As of last month, there were more than 19,000 video gaming terminals across Illinois. But it appears things are leveling off after three years of growth. Still, the machines are a major revenue generator for the state and local governments. In fact, the state’s share from video gaming recently passed $276 million.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Video gaming continues to grow in popularity across Illinois. Over the past year, the number of video gaming terminals statewide more than doubled. 

                                                              July 2013                                  July 2014

# Video Gaming Terminals                8,808                                             17,954

Amount Played (statewide)                $328,506,879.49                        $690,954,389.52

Video Gaming Rolls Out in Illinois

Oct 10, 2012

There are 65 establishments in Illinois that can now legally pay out for video gaming wins. Illinois lawmakers approved it back in 2009, but it's taken that long for regulators to set it up.

Video gambling is on the agenda for the Sycamore City Council tonight, a week after DeKalb approved allowing machines in qualifying establishments.

Several bars and fraternal organizations have indicated their interest to City Manager Brian Gregory, while three restaurants and a winery have said they are not interested. Officials have estimated the city could realize almost $100,000 annually from the machines, although Mayor Ken Mundy believes that number is high.