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Lake County Invests Larger Gambling Revenue in Gambling Addiction and Community Services

The way in which video gambling machines tax revenue is used by local government has been a commonly-discussed issue when it comes to filling the budget deficits or making salaries payments. This, however, could turn out not as easy as initially expected, as some state governments learned at the time when casino revenue started to decline.

However, Lake County is using the money generated from video gaming terminals (VGTs) to fund local non-profit organizations which take care of problem gamblers by providing them with gambling addiction treatment or mental health services. According to media reports, more charity organizations will become eligible to state funding under a policy which has recently been revised by the county, and more money is expected to be received as tax revenue, too.

Although the state has seen some difficulties to provide enough (or any) funding for social services during the two-year gap without a budget which ended last year, Lake County’s agencies are getting more and more money to fund community services to help gambling addicts. Unlike the majority of local governments which also get video gambling terminals tax revenue on a yearly basis, Lake County designates the entire revenue for various social service programs. Last year, the amount was worth US$545,150.

Last month, the county board made the grants available for the majority of social service agencies. County officials revealed that now, programs oriented towards gambling addicts are also able to seek multi-year funding, which has been an important change in the status quo, as many smaller organizations depend on such funding in order to attract other contributors.

As revealed by county officials, the state expects a further amount of $150,000 derived from video gambling terminals to be received by Lake County.

Additional Tax Revenue Expected to Be Brought Thanks to the Changes

As commented by Tom Weber, a Lake Villa’s county board member, the aforementioned changes are in line with the board’s vision for the use of the revenue at the time when the new policy was brought into action in 2013.

As mentioned above, Lake Villa received a total amount of $545,150 in video gambling tax revenue in 2017. Gambling addiction programs got a chunk worth $150,000, while a $245,150 portion was intended for counseling services for local families and residents with lower income. A further $120,000 were granted to homeless outreach, and mental health services in the county got a $30,000 portion.

The overall amount was generated as tax money from the 305 video gambling terminals in Lake County, which is on the fifth place by number of machines in the state, according to the most recent report released by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.

The state is set to start collecting sales tax on all purchases of Illinois residents from online retailers situated in other states in less than a couple of months. This step is expected to boost the revenue even more in the months to come, with the additional revenue expected to be generated over the first year only being estimated to roughly $140 million.