Rockford went to great lengths to land a casino, even getting Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick to lobby for a license. Nevertheless, the city already has 100 facilities with 477 video slots. This is in addition to the 87 locations and 423 video locations in surrounding towns like Loves Park, Cherry Valley, Edgewood and Machesney Park. The legislature has also significantly increased the amount allocated to the fight against gambling addiction. This year, ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ found that the state ranks at the bottom of the drug service funding ladder — 28th out of 40 states. Unlike a number of other states where gambling is legalized, Illinois has never measured the prevalence of gambling addiction, which experts see as a crucial first step in combating what the American Psychiatric Association now recognizes as a drug- and alcohol-dependent disease. Illinois has the lowest credit score in the country, and a recent report from Moody`s Investors Service found that it is one of two states considered ill-prepared for another recession. The other is New Jersey. Lawmakers are betting that the game`s massive expansion will help the state emerge from its financial crisis while making a significant contribution to a $45 billion building campaign called Rebuild Illinois, the state`s first investment plan in a decade. Despite an industry lobbying campaign to block an increase in the tax on video slots, lawmakers raised the tax by 3% starting July 1, and another 1% was launched a year later. The rate is currently 30%, of which 25% goes to the state and 5% to local governments. The tax increase will bring Illinois` tax rate on video games over Louisiana.
But Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and West Virginia all have rates of 50% or higher. But many of these areas are already flooded with video slots. By the end of April, Waukegan had 54 establishments with 262 video and poker slots throughout the city. The addition of a casino with 2,000 positions in the city will increase the number of gaming positions almost eight times. On May 21, 1999, Governor George Ryan signed the Riverboat Gambling Act. The law states that boats are no longer obliged to navigate on the river. As soon as the action began, all river boats stopped sailing. And then it became de facto land-based port casinos. The legal gambling age in Illinois is 21 for casino and bar video poker customers. The lotto and races have a minimum playing age of 18 years. During the 2008 financial crisis, before the state had video slots, casinos experienced a sharp drop in sales. For this reason, experts warn state and local governments against relying on gambling revenue to fund loans or cover recurring expenses such as retirement payments.
When the legislature passed the video games law in 2009, it significantly increased the Illinois Gaming Board`s workload without allocating additional resources to implement the law, ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ found. This time, lawmakers gave the Gaming Board an $8 million budget increase, as well as up to $20 million in additional funds to manage its growing portfolio, which now includes sports betting, six new casinos and racinos. Our ongoing series, The Bad Bet, explores video games in Illinois. An 816-page bill introduced and passed by the General Assembly over the weekend, if fully implemented, will make Illinois the gambling capital of the Midwest. The number of government-sponsored gambling “positions” – seats to place a bet in a casino, bar or racino – will increase from nearly 44,000 to nearly 80,000. That`s about four times the number of positions in each neighboring state, according to a review of gaming statistics from ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ. “This is a significant increase in funding,” said Anita Pindiur, executive director of the Way Back Inn, a Maywood treatment center that helps about 80 people a year with gambling problems. “But this is a massive expansion, and it`s not unfolding slowly. That will happen very quickly. And it will have an impact on people.
We need to educate them about the signs of addiction, otherwise they won`t know if there`s a problem until it`s too late. A January investigation by ProPublica Illinois-WBEZ found that it took nearly a decade for the video game to meet revenue forecasts, exacerbating the state`s financial woes. The legislator has also saved on the financing of regulatory and social costs. Meanwhile, a handful of video game operators have made massive profits, in part because the state has one of the lowest video game tax rates in the country. Ahead of Sunday`s Senate vote late afternoon, Minority Leader Bill Brady, a Bloomington Republican, informed his colleagues that he had a conflict of interest and would not vote on the bill. He also said he had withdrawn from the closed-door negotiations that led to the legislation. Senator Thomas Cullerton, a Democrat from Villa Park who is a sales agent for a video game operator, also abstained. As part of the new budget, also adopted over the weekend, the General Assembly increased funding for gambling addiction from about $800,000 a year to $6.8 million, an 8 1/2-fold increase.
But even before lawmakers approved about 23,000 new gaming positions, ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ had found that video games had cannibalized casino revenues. Between 2013 and 2017, state revenue from Illinois casinos fell 15 percent, from $462 million to $393 million, with video slot revenues rising nearly 900 percent, from $30 million to $300 million, according to state records. In 1990, the Riverboat Gambling Act became law and Illinois opened its first Riverboat casino in Alton in 1991. River casinos once had to move along waterways while gambling, but the law changed and casinos were allowed to dock permanently in 1999. Today, there are ten licensed casinos operating throughout the state. Thousands of years later, you`ll find that Illinois in particular has an interesting history with legalized gambling. Gambling in the state of Illinois dates back to the 1800s, when there were problems with many unlicensed river casinos and the clientele they attracted. It seemed that even when the practice was made illegal, gambling was still commonplace in many social circles. Making it illegal only opened the door to individuals who operated and profited illegally, not to the state, which could finance public works with a taxed portion of the profits. “The rapid expansion of sports betting and casinos without public scrutiny of the capacity or impact of the expansion is quite disappointing and could have the same negative consequences as previous gambling expansions,” said Laurence Msall, president of the Nonpartisan Civic Federation, a state watchdog group. While addiction counselors welcome the increase in the budget, they say they are wary of the massive expansion of gambling that will come with it.
Studies show that as the number of gambling opportunities increases, so does the rate of addiction. And if all gambling options materialize in expansion, the quantity and variety of games in Illinois will be unprecedented. Illinois offers a wide range of gambling. The racing industry was the first to enter the market since the Great Depression. The Illinois Lottery was one of the first in the Midwest. There are also several high-end Illinois casinos and a video lottery. Countless draw machines, devices similar to video slots and poker machines that have spread throughout Chicago, are also in the mix. Lottery machines were essentially legalized in 2013, when some of the same lawmakers who led the state`s recent gamble on gambling expansion pushed through legislation through the General Assembly to decriminalize it. “This is a bill that will increase the number of play positions, but it will not increase the number of players,” said Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association. “This state hasn`t been casino-friendly from the beginning, and this bill doesn`t help with that.” Illinois` economy and smoking ban have affected gaming revenue in recent years. The state passed a ban on smoking in casinos in 2008, just before the Great Recession.
That reduced its gambling revenue by 20 percent, as smokers moved promotion to border states where casinos allow smoking. Illinois was hit hard by the recession. This kept gambling revenues low than other states for a longer period of time. In 2015, the state stopped paying the big lottery winners due to a budget impasse in the state legislature; This has hurt ticket sales.