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*** UPDATED x1 *** Gaming revenues took a tumble

Tuesday, Oct 6, 2020

* Capitol News Illinois

Revenues flowing into state coffers from legalized gambling operations plummeted during the fiscal year that ended June 30 as casinos, racetracks and other video gambling venues were forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many people also slowed down on buying lottery tickets, according to a new report by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, or CoGFA, which said total state tax revenues generated through legalized gambling fell 13.4 percent, or about $200 million, compared to the previous fiscal year.

“This decline is in large part due to the suspension of video gaming and casino operations between March 16 and June 30, which thereby prevented any revenues from being generated from these sources during this time period,” the report stated. “Although this suspension has been since lifted, gaming has only returned on a limited basis and it remains unclear how long these limitations will last. Even with the resumption of wagering, it is expected that the ramifications of the pandemic on public confidence will persist for some time.”

The report noted that casinos suffered the biggest declines, with adjusted gross receipts falling by 30 percent, or more than $400 million, compared to the previous year. That included a $119 million drop in receipts at the state’s largest casino, Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, but all other casinos reported significant declines as well.

The full COGFA report is here.

*** UPDATE *** A bright spot…

Illinois’ recreational marijuana industry continues to surge as many other businesses struggle to survive during the pandemic, with statewide sales surpassing $67.6 million in September.

According to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, adult-use cannabis sales in August climbed nearly 5.8% over July, when the state had nearly $64 million in sales.

Sales of recreational pot have increased each month since February, which saw a slight drop in sales from January, the first month of legal weed in Illinois.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Oct 6, 20 @ 10:39 am:

    Not surprised at this development but I wonder if it goes beyond just people not wanting to expose themselves to COVID in public places.

    Are people gambling less due to people just being generally depressed and less optimistic in this era of COVID?

    I keep an eye out at the grocery store for the tickers with the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots because I’ll buy a ticket if it’s over $200 million. However, since COVID hit the jackpots have just consistently been puny and it seems like the starting jackpot is less when it resets and the amount it goes up after each drawing is a lot less.

    I would not be surprised if Illinois lottery revenues have taken a big hit this year along with the casinos/tracks.

  2. - drama - Tuesday, Oct 6, 20 @ 10:41 am:

    Better find some more drugs to legalize. Marijuana about the only thing bringing any revenue to state

  3. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 20 @ 11:31 am:

    @hisgirlfriday - I’m the same way with PB and MM. I think it is probably even simpler: a lot of the source funds for those games was from middle class or poorer people who just don’t have the disposable income now with significant job losses, etc.

  4. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 20 @ 11:34 am:

    Most gambling profits come from the same people…who lose over and over…I hope it’s over.

  5. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 20 @ 11:53 am:

    Every drug was legal before mankind got smart…and decided to start a war on them…or was it on us?

  6. - Roadrager - Tuesday, Oct 6, 20 @ 11:53 am:

    ==I keep an eye out at the grocery store for the tickers with the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots because I’ll buy a ticket if it’s over $200 million. However, since COVID hit the jackpots have just consistently been puny and it seems like the starting jackpot is less when it resets and the amount it goes up after each drawing is a lot less.==

    It was barely April when the Multi-State Lottery Association (which operates Powerball) and the Mega Millions Consortium both announced that, effective immediately, they were cutting both their starting jackpots and their guaranteed minimums for rollovers. Basically, the moment March 11th happened and COVID became an inescapable American reality, lottery ticket sales fell off a cliff.

    That’s when I thought to myself that surviving this pandemic and its myriad consequences will require real structural change to how every level of government below federal keeps itself afloat. Because we are not going to be able to patch things over for a couple years with a new regressive tax anymore.

  7. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Oct 6, 20 @ 2:12 pm:

    I wonder how sports gaming will play into this - now that you can bet on something from your own home (and one that isn’t pure chance), maybe that results in fewer trips to the casino, corner store for some lottery tickets, etc.

  8. - Silence Dogood - Tuesday, Oct 6, 20 @ 3:44 pm:

    Most comparable lottery states had record lottery sales and profits in FY20. Why? There was no gaming competition and most lottery retailers were deemed ‘essential’ and never closed. Plus, lotteries traditionally do well during recessions, because their products are conveniently available and cheap. Camelot, the Illinois Lottery’s Private Manager had the additional advantage of being able to sell lottery tickets over the Internet. Their three year record as Private Manager is dismal, far worse than Northstar’s, and during FY20, compared to their peers, inexplicable.

  9. - Hello brother - Wednesday, Oct 7, 20 @ 3:45 pm:

    The state’s failing contract with Camelot to run the lottery is Illinois’ best kept secret. The Canadian-owned firm’s performance has been dismal and the retailers, Senate President and the Gov’s office know it all too well. Camelot is making millions, though, off of Illinois. Wake up BGA and GOP.

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