If the Illinois gaming industry gets its way, lawmakers should loosen current wagering restrictions. However, lawmakers want to increase video gambling taxes.

Ivan Hernandez, head of the Illinois Gaming Machine Operators Association, gave the proposal to the House Executive Committee. At present, the committee is considering various methods to increase Illinois’ revenue from video gambling machines.

Hernandez told gambling industry advocates that their proposal will improve revenues higher than what Governor J.B. Pritzker requested. The latter wanted to increase taxes to improve the revenue generated from video gambling machines.

The Executive Committee held a session attended by various shareholders of the Illinois gaming industry. They were unanimously against the proposed tax increase included in the governor’s budget address in February.

Illinois Gaming Industry and Higher Taxes

At present, video gaming machines have a tax rate of 30 percent. In addition, the establishment housing the machines and the operator share the remaining profits equally. The governor wants to increase the tax rate to 50 percent, which will result in an additional $100 million in revenues for the local and state governments.

Illinois Gaming Industry: Yes to Higher Bets; No to More Taxes

Those against the tax hike said that small businesses owners depend on the machines to attract traffic into their businesses. In fact, you can find gaming machines in small restaurants, VFW posts, and bars.

Hernandez told bookie pay per head experts that they want to increase the wager limit on single plays. At present, the limit is at $2. They want it to be at least $4. Once the proposal pushes through, maximum winnings will increase to $1,199. Also, they want to increase the number of machines at a location to six.

According to calculations made by pay per head demo providers, the proposal from the Gaming Machine Operators Association will generate more than $210 million in revenues. That means there’s no need for increased taxes to improve revenues of the state.


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