Illinois Slot Machine Revenue – According to the latest figures from the Illinois Gaming Board, from January to October, Illinois raked in more than $1 billion in gambling revenue from video games, sports betting and casinos.
Still, it’s a figure less than officials were betting on two-and-a-half years ago, in June 2019, when a major gambling expansion law authorized six new casinos to be built.
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Of the six, only one is operating so far: Rockford’s Hard Rock Casino opened a temporary location in early November.
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State gaming regulators moved forward Wednesday with projects that would put casinos in the suburbs, selecting a winning bid for a casino planned for Waukegan. The 2019 law also provides for a casino in the southern suburbs. On Wednesday, gaming board members chose a proposal that would build that casino in Homewood and East Hazel Crest, over a competing bid that would have put it in Matteson.
Members of the Gaming Board did not reveal during the meeting how they determined who won but won.
The only discussion between formal actions was when president Charles Schmadeke thanked the applicants for their hard work.
“It certainly shows the quality of the work and it made our work not easy, but it certainly informed our work,” he said.
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For Waukegan, the council chose the proposal of the public company Full House Resorts, Inc. which traded submissively as American Place, on a North Point Casino proposal led by former senator Michael Bond.
In an October presentation, Full House CEO Daniel Lee promised to bring Vegas “pizzazz” to Waukegan. He said the plans call for a helipad to be used by high-end gamblers, though he said the goal — like in Vegas — is to make Waukegan a destination for non-gamers as well, with features like a water fountain. show in the group.
“It becomes an attraction you want to come and see, and it’s a non-game attraction that when people come to town, you’re going to bring them here,” he said.
At Wednesday’s meeting, a field of four serious bidders has already been whittled down to two finalists for the casino that the 2019 law assigned to the general south suburban region.
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The winner: Wind Creek Illinois LLC, which plans to build a casino at the intersection of I-80, 294 and Halsted, a site that covers parts of Homewood and East Hazel Crest, and is less than ten minutes from the Indiana border.
“Being close to Indiana and being the only Diamond card resort in the area, we’re going to attract those user dollars to Illinois instead of the opposite that’s happened in the last few decades,” Wind Creek COO Brent Pinkston said during the group’s presentation are in October. at the state gaming board.
The venue is designed to maximize revenue, he said, and is presented as a full resort, with a spa, concert venue and restaurant including a sky room that Pinkston said the architects designed to have views of the Chicago skyline.
The developers of these casinos can no longer cash in the chips; Bidders and plans must go through additional background and approval.
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“Preliminary eligibility is just that. It is preliminary and does not guarantee the final license,” Marcus Fruchter, director of the Gaming Board said. “While it is a very important step that allows the applicant to seek approval to start construction and take other steps towards the start of game operations and final licensing, preliminary is a simple formality.”
In addition, Waukegan is facing a federal court challenge brought by the Potawatomi Tribe of Forest County that says city officials rigged the bidding process to favor North Point. The Gaming Board is not a party to this case.
The Potawatomi had in a separate lawsuit tried to block the gaming board from issuing a Waukegan casino license. A Cook County circuit court judge denied the tribe’s request for a temporary restraining order, freeing regulators to proceed.
The governor was among the officials who attended a groundbreaking Wednesday for the Walker’s Bluff casino, about five hours south of Chicago.
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Governor J.B. “I have been very proud to work with the General Assembly to expand jobs and economic opportunity in southern Illinois,” said Pritzker. “Walker’s Bluff was already a popular attraction that brought tourists and business meetings from all over the region. Now with hundreds of slot machines, gaming tables and an on-site hotel, this expansion will bring more visitors to take advantage of the beauty and Southern Illinois Hospitality.”
Supporters of gambling expansion say while Illinois has been slow to give casinos a footprint outside of its 10 casino sites for a long time, the state has lost tourism and revenue to neighboring states.
“It really aggravated me that the Illinois teachers union would go to St. Louis for their annual meeting, or anyone else would go to another state because they had enough room – that was the big thing – the other thing was that they had gambling. ,” says Walker’s Bluff LLC founding partner Cynde Bunch.
Opponents say bold predictions about the revenue Illinois will generate through gambling to pay for infrastructure improvements don’t take into account hidden costs, such as gambling addiction.
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The city of Chicago received five bids from potential casino operators. A public hearing on them is scheduled for December 16.
Backers of a casino in the east central community of Danville, just across the border from Indiana, are awaiting gaming board approval.
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Sign up for our morning newsletter to get all our stories delivered to your mailbox every weekday. More Illinois communities have turned to video gambling machines as a way to generate revenue. In six years, the number of Illinois communities that ban video games fell from 63 percent to 36 percent. (Photo Casino.org)
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Nowhere in Illinois could the gap between advocates and opponents of video games be more apparent than in Lake County.
Although 21 of the county’s 29 communities have banned video game terminals, Lake County ranks only behind much larger Cook County in both the number of video game terminals and net terminal revenue.
The issue of a moratorium on video games in unincorporated areas of the county even divided the Lake County Board, with nine votes in favor and eight votes against. Although more council members voted in favor of the moratorium than against it, the measure failed because four council members voted only “present”. Because 21 council members were present, the measure would have received 12 votes to be adopted.
Board member Linda Pedersen has the largest unincorporated area and the most video game facilities in the county. He supported the moratorium, feeling that video games are getting out of control in the county.
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“The moratorium would not affect people (businesses that) currently have video games or any business that currently has a liquor license. They would have the opportunity to apply if they chose,” Pedersen said in a Facebook post after the County Board vote closed this summer. “… I thought this was very fair to the businesses that currently have video games. The moratorium would only affect any new business in having it.”
With state lawmakers easing restrictions on gambling, even more gaming terminals will head to Lake County and any other municipalities that allow gambling machines.
In six years, the number of Illinois communities that ban video games fell from 63 percent to 36 percent.
“More and more local governments looking for additional revenue are turning to video games as a new source of revenue,” state lawmakers wrote in their “Paying in Illinois: 2019 Update” report. “Those communities that offer video games will receive one sixth of the total tax revenue collected. As the need for more local revenue increases, so will the pressure to overturn the ban.”
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Several top municipalities have overturned in the past few years and now allow video games. These municipalities include Buffalo Grove, Crystal Lake, Mount Prospect, Niles, Orland Park and St. Charles. Another former video terminal opponent, Lombard, reversed its ban in April.
As the number of video games continues to increase, the opposite has been the case for Illinois casinos. Only one casino – Rivers in Des Plaines – has had an increase in adjusted gross receipts in the six years since video games came on the scene in Illinois. Excluding Rivers, the other nine casinos in the state saw their revenues fall by a total of 27 percent, with all experiencing double-digit losses.
“While there is an abundance of factors that cause the decline in casino numbers, without a doubt a major factor contributing to this reduction is increased competition from the growth of video games,” state legislators said in their report on betting.
Illinois casinos, prior to this spring’s gambling expansion bill, were limited to 1,200 on-premises gambling positions. Video games have added the equivalent of more than 10 1,200-position casinos in the Chicago metropolitan area since the beginning of video games in the state.
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“It seems that video games have simply ‘rearranged the deck chairs’ by redistributing casino gaming revenue to the many gaming venues that currently exist in this region,