* 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.