The money from video gambling terminals continues to roll in five years after video gambling was legalized in Illinois, with our state gobbling up more than $300 million in tax revenues from nearly 26,900 machines for a 12-month period that ended in June.

Full disclosure here--I've played video poker exactly twice in my life. Confounding the odds, I won $100 the first time and promptly quit so I could enjoy the money. The second time it was $75, and I quit again after that. I figured it could only go downhill from there. They don't build casinos and hotels on people like me.

An annual wagering report from the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability says the net terminal income statewide totaled to $1.2 billion. Revenue from all forms of gambling increased by nearly 8 percent, totaling to $1.3 billion. The increased revenue compensated for the decline in lottery and riverboat casino receipts.

Springfield led the state with the most video gaming terminals in Illinois, followed by Rockford. Springfield collected a little more than $30 million in net terminal income from 635 terminals.

Rockford collected more than $29 million from 451 terminals.

Not everyone is happy with video gambling and its associated problems. From US News:

Antia Bedell, executive director of Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems, said some communities have started to reconsider the financial and social costs of having unlimited video gaming.

"Once you legalize it, a lot of other businesses are going to want it," said Bedell. "You have flower shops, you have all kinds of businesses with video gambling,"

Video gambling is banned in Chicago and Cook County.


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