Video gaming revenue is up in Oak Lawn and statewide according to the latest monthly report filed by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA). The bad news may be that the video gaming terminals may be taking money away from the state’s riverboat casinos which are showing a drop in revenue.
Statewide, the municipalities’ share of video gaming revenue increased from a total of $32,974,949.54 in 2014 to $45,680,386.99 in 2015, an increase of about thirteen million dollars. The number of establishments increased statewide from 5,124 to 5,660.
In Oak Lawn, the village coffers also saw a pronounced increase from $351,497.51 in 2014 to $461,832.88 in 2015. The number of establishments offering video gaming also increased from 32 in 2014 to 36 in 2015. The number of establishments seeking licenses continue to rise. In 2013, Oak Lawn only had 24 establishments with video gaming.
Dan Long, executive director of COGFA, says the state is nearing full implementation of video gaming and gaming revenues are up, but there’s a twist.
“The taxes from gaming are going up but it is shifting. It is clear that the video gaming is taking revenue away from the river boats but overall adding to the total taxes collected by the state.
Long says riverboats can have 1,200 gaming positions but when adding 22,000 extra positions through other video gaming it impacts boat operations in places like Alton, Peoria and elsewhere. Regardless, COGFA says the added gaming positions has increased gaming revenue over $64 million from 2014 to 2015.
Video gaming is legal in establishments that have a liquor license that allows the establishment to “pour drinks”. The owners of those entities should be satisfied in Oak Lawn as per establishment tax revenue increased from $10,984.30 in 2014 to $12,828.69. That number represents the tax that the village receives and not the money the establishment makes on video gaming.
Video gaming revenue, which totaled over 33 million dollars in Oak Lawn, was taxed at thirty percent even though the village only receives a small portion of that tax. The tax also benefits the state, which earned over $2.2 million in taxes from Oak Lawn video gaming. The other revenue is split with the liquor licensee receiving twenty five percent and the terminal owners receiving thirty five percent.
Municipalities have the right to opt out of video gaming and 35 communities in Cook County, including Chicago, do not allow video gaming.