OUR VIEW: Illinoisans vote with their wallets | Editorial | herald-review.com

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Herald & Review editorial board

Making up to one-third of total revenue, the Illinois Lottery makes a big impact on local businesses.


Illinoisans definitely did not abandon vices during the pandemic.

Agree with the method of otherwise, there’s no denying Illinois citizens are voting with their wallets.

A total of $1.358 billion in fiscal 2021 state tax revenue was received between the lottery, casinos, video gaming, sports betting and horse racing. The Illinois Lottery registered sales of $3.41 billion in 2021, up more than $600 million from 2020.

It’s not just the Illinois Lottery driving the revenue bus. Gaming machines posted a record $1.93 billion in net terminal income from $23.3 billion wagered in fiscal year 2021, a 21% increase from the previous record in fiscal year 2019.

That’s why municipalities around the state are looking to take their share of those proceeds. They’re seeking additional slices, and businesses with the machines are anxious to protect meager profit margins. They only need to point to closed doors of restaurants around the state to illustrate their point.

But there are a number of cities where driving a mile without passing a venue housing gaming machine is an impossible task. The state has surpassed 40,000 video gaming terminals, doubling the total in operation just six years ago. Springfield leads the state in terminals with 736, followed by Rockford (541), Decatur (498), Joliet (436) and Loves Park (380). Decatur ranked first in income generated from the machines at $38.8 million, followed by Rockford, Springfield, Waukegan and Cicero. Bloomington, Champaign and Peoria also cracked the top 10.

Gaming machines are expected to continue to grow in use and popularity. In addition, Illinois has just scratched the surface of its potential for sports gambling.

Gambling is the most classic of double-edged swords when legalized. The revenue helps considerably. Imagine the howls of trying to replace $1.3 billion in the state budget, or imagine what wouldn’t be getting paid for without the multiple forms of legalized gambling.

Over every possible objection, Illinois continues to vote with its wallet.


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September 24, 2021 at 10:16PM

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