Video gaming

The screen of a video poker machine.

SPRINGFIELD — Video gambling revenues are continuing to rise, five years after terminals were legalized in Illinois.

An annual wagering report from the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability says the state collected more than $300 million in tax revenues from about 26,900 machines for a 12-month period that ended in June.

The net terminal income statewide totaled to $1.2 billion, The State Journal-Register reported. Revenue from all forms of gambling increased by about 8 percent, totaling to $1.3 billion.

The increased revenue compensated for the declines 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.

"We continue to add terminals around the city," said Bill McCarty, city budget director.

Revenue collected is allocated to a fund for street, sidewalk, bridge and other infrastructure improvements.

McCarty said the city collects an estimated $130,000 per month.

Rockford collected more than $29 million from 451 terminals.

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," Bedell said. "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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