Casinos Threatened by Video Gambling in Illinois
Illinois is experiencing a rapid growth in video gambling, which is being perceived as a threat to the more traditional casino gambling industry, which has been suffering a gradual decline.
According to the Illinois Gaming Board’s 2016 Annual Report, video gaming had spread to over 5000 locations across the state by the end of 2016. There are estimated to be around 24,840 video gambling terminals throughout the state, which is the same as the number of positions in 21 casinos.
The report also added that video gambling had turned out to be a technical and regulatory success and a great contributor to state revenues.
Casinos in opposite direction
Casinos seem to be headed the other way. According to the report, 10 of the state’s current casinos had reported a revenue drop of 1.7% in 2016 from 2015. The figure went from $1.439 billion to $1.414 billion. Admissions had also dropped by 4.5%.
In 2015, 12.9 million people were estimated to have visited casinos. However, for 2016, the number fell to 12.3 million. The revenue to the state from the casinos had also experienced a reduction of 2%, bringing the figure to $394 million.
The statistics strongly indicate that much of video gambling’s spread has been small, but, fast and steady; enough to give giant casinos a good scare. It is also extremely ironic, considering that casinos have been operational in Illinois since 1990 while video gambling was legalized only in 2009.
The Gaming Board reports that the net terminal income for 2016 was at $1.108 billion compared to just $903 million in 2015. That indicates a boost of 21.3%. The report adds that, in 2015, there were about 5,222 active video gambling locations while in 2016, that number went up to 5,726, indicating an increase of 9.7%.
The report even suggests that Illinois continues to be ideal for even more video gambling expansion as there is plenty of market demand and a government desperate for revenues. The number of communities that permit video gambling went up from 1 in 4 in 2013 to 1 in 2 by 2016.
However, Chicago, which is believed to be the biggest market, has largely been left untapped. This is due to the fact that the city does not allow video gambling, despite its poor financial state.
The Gaming Board continues to receive video-gambling applications even today and states that were formerly skeptical are now in favor of the whole thing.