Illinois video gaming revenue hits new heights - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Illinois video gaming revenue hits new heights

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CARBONDALE -- Video gaming revenue is up across the state, and southern Illinois is no different, where business owners say the machines have helped make up for some losses in what's been an otherwise tough year.

"When the numbers do fall, this kind of keeps us even," said Brian Donahue, manager of the Italian Village in Carbondale.

He says revenues from video gaming helps keep the restaurant from cutting staff and hours despite a downturn in customers.

"It doesn't make up for lost business," he said. "But it definitely helps to have this when we see the lower numbers that for some reason have been happening lately."

And the revenue doesn't just help businesses.

A new report from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability Shows video gaming revenues hit new heights, five years after Illinois legalized the machines.

The state raised more than $300 million in tax revenues from nearly 27,000 machines in Illinois over the past fiscal year, and revenues went up in 18 of 19 southern Illinois Counties.

In five southern Illinois Counties the machines generated at least five million dollars.

Williamson County machines led the way, bringing in almost $11 million, including $3.2 million in tax revenue.

And with the number of machines projected to increase, those revenues should go up.

"Every little bit helps," Donahue said. "It helps out to have them here and it definitely adds to what we do."

But according to Donahue, the expansion could be a double edged sword. He says Italian Village has lost some of its video gaming revenue as more and more businesses continue to add the machines.

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