Illinois Bettors Spend Big Money At Video Gaming Machines

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on January 19, 2022 - Last Updated on March 2, 2022
Skyline In Chicago Illinois Bettors Spending Money For Video Gaming

Illinois bettors wagered over $2 billion at video gaming terminals (VGT) to end the year, helping line the pockets of state coffers. 

According to figures released by the Illinois State Gaming Board, over $2.6 billion was wagered on VGTs in December. As a result, the state received $717.7 million in VGT gaming taxes in 2021.

Comparison to IL online gaming revenue   

By comparison, the $717 million in tax revenue from VGTs was more than the combined $643.7 million collected by Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey’s online casino operations through the first 11 months of the year. 

Video gaming machines operate much like slot machines and are found in bars, restaurants, and gas stations. However, they are illegal in the city of Chicago. 

The number of properties with VGT’s increased from 7,283 to 7,841 by December. In addition, the number of active machines also increased 12.6% to 41,826.

Illinois casinos also win big

State casinos in Illinois also finished 2021 with a big year as well. 

Illinois’ 11 casinos reported revenue totaling $109.8 million for December and nearly $1.2 billion for the year. The state collected $248.7 million in casino gaming taxes for 2021, almost $179.5 million more than 2020. 

Out of the 11 commercial casinos in the state, three surpassed the $100 million revenue mark. 

Rivers Des Plaines ($458.2 million), Grand Victoria ($143.3 million), and Harrah’s Joliet ($137.5 million) combined for 62.3% of the state’s overall total. 

Two more casinos are coming to Illinois

In December, the state gaming board also approved two more casinos in Waukegan and Homewood/East Hazel Crest.

Full House Resorts will operate the future American Place Casino in Waukegan and will open a temporary casino in July 2022. The temporary site will include 1,000 slot machines, 50 table games, and a sportsbook.

The Wind Creek Casino was the winning bid for the south suburban license. The $440 million property is scheduled to open in mid-2023 and will feature 1,300 slot machines, 56 table games, three restaurants, two bars, and a skyline lunge. It is yet unknown if Wind Creek Hospitality will open a temporary location.

Photo by Rudy Balasko /
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago and Washington, D.C., writing about politics, financial markets, and sports betting. He graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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