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Illinois VGT in Gambling Expansion
The Illinois gambling expansion bill that Gov. JB Pritzker signed in 2019 is the gift that keeps on giving. Legal sports betting is currently live in Illinois, and additional retail casinos are in the future. Sports betting is among the many gaming options available to Illinois bettors. Currently, there are 10 retail casinos within the state, and thousands of Illinois VGTs at truck stops, bars, etc.
Illinois’ gaming expansion is one of the revenue sources being used to help pay for the state’s $45 billion Rebuild Illinois capital bill and is planned to go toward projects at state facilities. The gaming expansion legalized sports betting in the state, authorized up to six new casinos, including one in Williamson County, casino-like gaming at horse racetracks, and more video gaming in restaurants, taverns, fraternal organizations, and truck stops. However, the gaming board still needs to set up rules for sports betting in the state, review the eventual applications for gaming licenses for the six new casinos and racinos, and oversee the addition of more video gaming terminals.
Video Gaming Grows
Local taverns, restaurants, truck stops, and fraternal organizations are slated to have the opportunity to add more video gaming terminals at their locations. Illinois VGT businesses will now be allowed to have up to six machines, up from a five-machine limit. Truck stops that are within three miles of a freeway interchange and sell more the 50,000 gallons of diesel a month, will be able to have up to 10 machines. The maximum bet allowed on the machines is going up to $4 from $2. Maximum prizes also increase from $500 to $1,199, and there can be an in-location progressive jackpot up to $10,000.
How Much Revenue Does Sports Betting Bring to Illinois?
In August, Illinois posted $140 million in the handle, and sportsbooks made about $7.2 million in revenue. That was in an environment where in-person registration was in place for most of the month, and BetRivers was the only online sportsbook easily accessible for the full 31 days. Therefore, both of those numbers should jump in September and beyond. Going forward, don’t be surprised to see at least $250 million in handle per month. That would come out to about $13 million in revenue, assuming a similar hold percentage from August.
How Much Tax Casinos Can Create?
At full implementation, legislators project that Illinois can rake in anywhere from $1.2 billion to $1.8 billion in one-time costs from bids on new casinos. That’s $200 million to $300 million per available license. After that, they predict that recurring yearly revenues from slot machines and table games would reach close to $190 million. That doesn’t account for retail sports betting, which could juice that total as well.
What About Illinois VGTs?
There are also thousands of video gaming terminals or Illinois VGTs are scattered across the state. The bill SB 690 also helped expand video gaming in Illinois. Licensed locations are now allowed six VGTs, instead of five. The maximum bet at each machine also increased from $2 to $4. The bill increases taxes on video gaming from 30% to 33%. According to Capitol Fax, video gaming could bring in about $40 million in state tax revenue per year.
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