According to the latest figures released by the Illinois Gaming Board, through the end of August, the city of Springfield received $4.019 million from gambling taxes since the fall of 2012 when video gambling was legalized in the state, with another $700,000 collected from licensing and fees, estimates the city budget office.
According to The State Journal-Register, money that was set aside in a special gaming revenue fund when the state legalized video gaming to help bankroll long-term infrastructure improvements, has yet to be spent.
While tax revenue and fees from video gaming approach $5 million in the state’s capital, growth in terminal numbers was significantly less this year than in previous years. Video terminals more than doubled from August 2013 at 221, to 453 in August 2014, while there was only a slight increase from 542 in August 2015 to 569 the same time this year, according to the Illinois Gaming Board. Springfield continues to edge out Rockford in the state in the number of gaming terminals, but the nearly 5 percent rate of growth in August this year was down from a few years ago when the city saw double and triple-digit growth.
Bill McCarty, the city’s budget director, said, “The revenue is still trending upward, but not nearly at the rate it had at the start,” adding that Springfield has averaged approximately $120,000 a month from video terminals. McCarty said, “In the last several months, it’s been up and down,” according to the news agency.
Recent reports from a state economic forecasting group and a video gaming association both predicted that the exponential growth of video gambling in the state would inevitably level off. The conclusion reached by both groups was that the big question in relation to video gaming in the state remains in Chicago, where prior to the state law being passed, video gambling was prohibited.
Meanwhile about 45 minutes away in Decatur, they are searching for ways to limit the number of locations where video gambling machines are operational in the state. That was the subject of a study session that the Decatur City Council addressed in June. Since the legalization of video gambling four years ago, cities across Illinois have benefitted from the gaming; however, lawmakers at that time did not anticipate just how fast it would grow. Statistics from the state gaming board show that 74 establishments across the city of Decatur had a total of 342 gaming machines at the end of April; a number that has grown with every passing month.