Video gambling has been legal for two years in Illinois, and there’s a difference of opinion of whether it’s the reason for a low tide for casinos in the fiscal year that ended June 30. An annual report from the state’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability suggests a connection between video’s popularity and casinos’ decline. The fiscal year saw declines at every casino in the state except for the one in Des Plaines.

The House lawmaker who shepherds gambling legislation in the state reminds us video gambling has existed far longer than it’s been legal.


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“Now you can actually see revenues” from video gambling, says State Rep. Bob Rita (D-Blue Island). “They’re trying to say there’s a direct correlation; that it’s the same gamblers” abandoning casinos for video. Rita says it’s too soon to tell, in his opinion.

As for whether a gambling expansion bill can move in the New Year, Rita says it depends on two elections: for governor next month, and for mayor of Chicago next year. Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed the last such bill that passed.

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