Gaming Analyst: Illinois Gaming Expansion Opponents ‘Completely Misrepresent’ Analysis

The letter below was sent to Illinois Revenue & Jobs Alliance Chairman Bill Black from Joseph Weinert, Senior Vice President of Spectrum Gaming Group. It is a response to a letter to the editor from Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association. Mr. Swoik’s letter was printed in Wednesday’s (8/1) Chicago Tribune in praise of the July 15 Tribune Editorial “Veto this defiant bill.

Mr. Weinert issued a similar letter to the Chicago Tribune himself.

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Dear Mr. Black,

Although as an independent research and consulting firm Spectrum Gaming Group takes no position on the passage of gaming expansion in Illinois, we want you to know that today we responded by email to Mr. Tom Swoik regarding the claims he made in his letter to the editor in today’s Chicago Tribune.

The figures presented by Mr. Swoik were taken out of context and effectively misrepresented the findings contained in the March 2, 2012, Spectrum report prepared for the Illinois Revenue and Jobs Alliance. In conducting our analysis of projected gross gaming revenue, employment, and macro-economic impacts of expanded casino gaming in Illinois, we were provided with a specific set of assumptions.

These assumptions included capturing the aforementioned impacts from the 10 existing casinos in Illinois, along with the addition of 5,750 gaming positions (all slots) at six racetrack locations, as well as an additional 10,400 gaming positions to be added at five new casinos (one land-based and four new riverboats) by 2016.

It appears that Mr. Swoik ignored any impact from the five new casinos and led readers to believe that racetrack slots alone would lead to significant erosion of taxes coming from existing casinos. The results that Mr. Swoik cited – indicating a net loss to the State from expanded gambling – are incorrect and completely misrepresent our analysis. [emphasis added]

Based on the assumptions we were provided with, our analysis indicates that expanded casino gambling could yield an additional $319.5 million in direct gaming and admission taxes alone (when comparing 2016 to 2011), which would be 65 percent more than was generated last year (not $35.7 million less, as Mr. Swoik indicated). Furthermore, Mr. Swoik did not acknowledge that existing Illinois casinos would experience a dramatic decrease in their effective gaming tax rate as a result of expanded casino gambling in Illinois; our analysis indicates that, even with overall gaming revenue declines at existing casinos, net of direct gaming taxes, the existing casino operators would have greater net revenue streams – which, in our experience, would help foster capital investment and job creation.

The bottom line, as detailed in the Executive Summary of our report, is that existing casino operators benefit (through lower taxes, which translates into greater revenue) while overall the State and various communities benefit (through greater tax receipts, as well as additional capital investment).

Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

 

Sincerely,

Joseph Weinert

Senior Vice President

Spectrum Gaming Group

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