Last month, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed a new capital plan that allows for six new casinos to open in the state. This week, a study was released that indicates slot machines in Illinois airports could bring the state millions in additional revenue each year. It’s exciting news for lawmakers here looking to cash in on the gambling industry.
Today, we’re looking at the details of the recent study on airport slots. We’ll also talk about why many companies are turning down the opportunity to run a casino in the Windy City.
Union Gaming Analytics Releases Study on Illinois Casinos
Ever since the recent capital plan was passed, casino companies and politicians have discussed the feasibility of a Chicago casino. Illinois has some of the highest tax rates on the gambling industry and as a result, several major casino operators are staying away from here. Union Gaming Analytics recently conducted a study on how much money slot machines in Illinois airports could make.
According to this group, it’s a substantial amount of money. In the 50-page feasibility report, Union Gaming states that slots at O’Hare and Midway airports could earn upwards of $37 million every year. This revenue figure is based on having 500 slot machines in both of these airports.
It’s a surprising figure to many. As of now, only airports in Las Vegas and Reno offer slot machine gambling. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania recently passed legislation to allow gambling in airports, as well, yet none have officially begun offering slot games.
Union Gaming Analytics claims that these slots would function, “namely as an option for some travelers to pass time.” The group believes that each slot machine could earn about $200 per day, amounting to $36.5 million over a year.
Who Would Own and Operate the Slot Machines in Illinois Airports?
Finding reputable casino operators to break into the Illinois market hasn’t been easy. As we’ve already mentioned, this state has some of the highest tax rates on casinos in the entire country. Under the new capital plan, casinos are facing a 72% tax rate on all revenue earned.
As you might expect, some of the top US casino operators are claiming that Chicago, and Illinois as a whole, is not a lucrative market. Las Vegas Sands has already claimed they are not interested in opening a Chicago casino. MGM Resorts echoed that statement.
As of now, the plan is for whatever company chooses to run the new casino in Chicago to operate airport slot machine gambling, as well. The state’s gambling expansion bill allows for the Chicago casino operators to offer 4,000 slots. Any of these gambling machines added to airports will count against this figure.
Even if the Chicago casino isn’t successful, the airport’s slots will be, according to Union Gaming.
“As such, greater total revenues and taxes would be achieved by [allocating] a few hundred slot machines to Midway and O’Hare airports,” the study concluded.
Online Casino Gambling Continues to Grow in Chicago
Lawmakers in Illinois are clearly interested in earning more revenue from the gambling industry. Sports betting was recently legalized here and six new casinos are set to open up over the next few years. Interestingly, there hasn’t been much of a push to regulate online casino gambling in the state.
Today, only three states have regulated internet casino gambling markets. New Jersey controls one of the most lucrative internet gambling markets in the country with millions being generated each month.
Fortunately for fans of gambling here, there are still a large number of great online casinos in Illinois currently available. These websites generally offer just as many gaming options as the country’s top-land based casinos. They also provide a range of safe, quick payment options.
It’s important to note that these websites are not regulated by the state. Based on the way things are going here, this may change in the near future.
Slot machines in Illinois airports may be right around the corner. First, however, Illinois politicians will need to approve an operator to take control of the proposed casino in Chicago. Make sure to stay tuned for more updates on Illinois’ gambling industry over the next few weeks!