Gaming revenue increases for many municipalities

Many municipalities in the region have seen increased revenue from gaming operations since 2019, with revenue rebounding in 2021 from the 2020 pandemic crisis.

“Any source of revenue is a benefit to the community,” Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard said. “We are happy to have more income, especially since we have several mandates coming up that we will have to review and see how to fund.”

Jacksonville saw revenue increase by more than $100,000 in 2021 compared to 2019 figures, according to the Illinois Gaming Board. The city received $409,657 in tax revenue from gambling operations in 2021, up from $309,000 in 2019.

There were 145 video game machines reported in Jacksonville for the year.

Money generated from gaming operations is often used to fund special projects, such as the recreational trail at Lake Jacksonville and the community-wide broadband project, Ezard said.

“It’s used to enhance community projects, efforts to make people’s lives easier,” he said. “It is used for special projects that the aldermen deem necessary.”

The state suspended gambling operations in 2020 from March 16 to June 30 and from November 20 to January 16, 2021, as part of its attempt to reduce the pandemic.

As a result, many municipalities recorded low gambling tax revenues in 2020.

In Beardstown, even the smallest amount was valuable, Mayor Tim Harris said.

Community Slots revenue increased from $106,618 in 2019 to $173,919 in 2021, an increase of over $67,000.

This money goes directly into Beardstown’s general fund to be used in various public services.

“It goes to firefighters, ambulances, public works, all utilities,” Harris said. “It helps us meet a variety of needs.”

The increased revenue isn’t just good for municipalities, but also for the companies hosting the machines, Harris said.

“The idea is to help businesses, to support their businesses,” Harris said.

Although the increase from 2019 to 2021 was small, Harris said additional revenue streams were needed.

“That amount helps, especially in a city our size,” Harris said.

Arenzville saw an increase of $1,553, to $3,053 in 2021. Mount Sterling increased by $28,514 to $47,728 in 2021. Pittsfield received $113,949, increasing by $26,574. Roodhouse rose from $14,205 to $43,593. South Jacksonville received $169,017 in 2021, up $52,435 from 2019. Virginia increased from $27,066 to $64,055 in 2021. White Hall saw an increase from $24,091 to $48,077 in 2020. Winchester rose to $46,137, up $23,800 from 2019.

Cities are not the only municipalities to benefit from gambling revenue. Counties also collect a small portion of tax revenue.

Morgan County received $96,513 in 2021, up from $61,245 in 2019. Cass County received $5,407 in revenue in 2021, up $264 from 2019. Greene County received 13 $189 in 2021, down from $10,558 in 2019. in 2021. Pike County received $64,253, down from $37,679. Schuyler County received $2,400 in 2021; no data was available for 2019 or 2020. Scott County received $4,495 in 2021, up from $1,639 previously.

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