Report: Gaming bill would add $200 million annually, more than 20,500 jobs

New Revenue & Jobs Alliance champions revenue and jobs benefits of gaming expansion

Springfield,Ill—A newly released independent study estimates that pending legislation in Springfield would, if enacted into law, generate up to $200 million in additional tax revenue for the state each year and create nearly 20,500 jobs throughout Illinois.

The report, conducted by the highly regarded Spectrum Gaming Group and commissioned by the  Illinois Revenue & Jobs Alliance, clearly shows that Illinois is an underserved gaming market that can easily support additional gaming. The report also calculates the massive job creation and gross economic benefits that will come from passing Senate Bill 1849.

“These figures indicate there is a strong demand for more gaming in Illinois and that we have room to grow before the state even comes close to market saturation,” said Illinois Jobs and Revenue Alliance Chairman Bill Black, a former legislator from Danville, who served for nearly 25 years in the Illinois General Assembly. “With the governor’s signature, Illinois can comfortably expand gaming with new casinos and slots at racetracks and reap significant economic benefits and new jobs the state sorely needs.”

SB1849 calls for new casinos in Chicago, Lake County, south suburban Chicago, Rockford and Danville; as well as adding slot machines to the state’s six horseracing tracks, where gaming has existed for over 100 years.

The study follows a report by the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA), which found the state would receive an additional $444 million in additional tax revenue each year if SB 1849 were signed into law.

Generating More Revenue

According to the Spectrum report, projected gross gaming revenue in Illinoiswould reach $3.28 billion annually by 2016 if SB 1849 were enacted – a 75 percent increase over the $1.87 billion projected if no expansion occurred. SB 1849 would translate into a total of $809.2 million per year in taxes and admission fees for the state, or an increase of $195.3 million, the study found. In addition, the state would receive an additional reconciliation payment of $1.17 billion and $377 million in initial licensing fees.

“Expanding gaming would bring in new revenue to help stabilize the state’s finances and provide sorely needed dollars for education, capital projects and safety-net programs without raising taxes,” Black added.

Creating More Jobs

Illinois will also realize economic benefits through the expansion outlined in SB 1849, the study indicated. The legislation would create 20,451 new jobs and more than $1.5 billion in personal income, including 9,800 full-time jobs with $323 million in annual wages as well as more than 4,500 construction-related jobs, translating into nearly $475 million in wages, benefits and taxes.

The Spectrum analysis projected that the expansion allowing for slots at horseracing venues would create 2,723 full-time jobs at racetracks and 1,038 full-time construction-related jobs at those venues.

Additionally, SB 1849 would provide a stable foundation for the preservation of nearly 37,000 agribusiness jobs – according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture – located throughout Illinois, including farmers and breeders. It’s estimated that an additional 5,000 agribusiness jobs would be created under SB 1849.

“SB 1849 is a win for the state and Illinois residents, generating more than $1.5 billion in personal income earned through creating more than 20,000 new jobs at no cost to taxpayers,” said Henry Tamarin, President of UNITE HERE Local 1 and Illinois Jobs and Revenue Alliance member. “This proposal will put people back to work, especially in central and southern Illinois, where agribusiness jobs are a significant driver of local economies.”

Recapturing Illinois Dollars

Without the enactment of SB 1849, other states will continue to capitalize on gaming dollars from Illinoisresidents, who continue to spend close to $1.5 billion in out-of-state gaming venues, the study found.

“Illinois cannot afford to continue the bleed of gaming dollars across our border to place bets in Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa and Missouri,” said Jerry Roper, President and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Revenue and Jobs Alliance member. “For far too long, our neighbors have usedIllinoisdollars to build their roads, construct schools, and provide essential services to their residents.”

SB 1849 would result in Illinois recapturing approximately $644 million from those out-of-state casinos each year by 2016, according to estimates in the report.

Meeting Market Demand

Illinois currently ranks first in the nation in average “win per day” for slot machines. Win per day is a commonly used metric for determining market saturation. The benchmark industry range is between $200 and $300. Among the 18 states that currently have slot machines,Illinois’ win per unit is $325, significantly higher than the second highest, which is Pennsylvaniaat $307, and well above the national state average of $178.

Spectrum estimates that with the enactment of compromise legislation currently pending in Springfield, the statewide daily win per unit would amount to $252, well within the reasonable range for gaming supply. In the Chicago area, the overall daily win per unit is projected at $262, also well within the reasonable range.

In addition, Spectrum employed a second measure that found that Illinois has a significantly higher number of adults per gaming position (728) than its neighbors in Indiana,Iowa and Missouri (a combined average of 159 adults per gaming position). In other words,Illinois currently has 4.6 times as many adults per gaming position compared to the average of the three surround states. If SB 1849 took effect, Illinois would have 266 adults per gaming position, which is still much higher than those other states, the report noted.

About the Illinois Revenue and Jobs Alliance

The Illinois Revenue & Jobs Alliance is a growing statewide consortium of labor organizations, business groups, farming and agribusiness interests, racetracks and horsemen associations, and local municipalities committed to the passage of SB 1849 which calls for the expansion of gaming in Illinois, including slot machines at racetracks. The Illinois Revenue & Jobs Alliance is committed to creating new jobs, protecting existing jobs spurring new economic development and generating more revenue for the state. For more information, visit www.IllinoisJobsAlliance.org.

About Spectrum Gaming Group

Spectrum Gaming Group prepared the Market Analysis/Impact Report for the Illinois Revenue and Jobs Alliance. Based in New Jersey, Spectrum Gaming Group is an independent research and professional services firm founded in 1993 that serves private- and public-sector clients worldwide. Spectrum holds no beneficial interest in any casino operating companies or gaming equipment manufacturers or suppliers. They employ only senior-level executives and associates who have earned reputations for honesty, integrity and the highest standards of professional conduct.

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