In Illinois and an official feasibility study has reportedly determined that the state could earn up to $18.5 million every year by bringing a complement of around 500 slots to O’Hare International Airport and Chicago Midway International Airport.
According to a Sunday report from the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper, the inquiry was prepared by Union Gaming Analytics and determined that such a quantity of slots in the two Chicago-area airports would annually bring in net revenues of approximately $36.5 million with some $12 million of this earmarked for the state’s largest city.
The state-sanctioned investigation reportedly also declared that such a return would be better than is being chalked up by the airports in Las Vegas and Reno, which are the only two such facilities in the nation to currently feature slot gaming. The newspaper explained that McCarran International Airport features about 1,475 slots while there are 240 such units at Reno-Tahoe International Airport with each earning ‘well below’ the statewide daily machine average of some $151.
But, Union Gaming Analytics reportedly estimated that slots at the two Chicago airports could earn up to $200 per day and function ‘namely as an option for some travelers to pass the time’. It moreover purportedly stated that such machines inside the Illinois facilities ‘should hold greater appeal’ with arriving and departing gamers as these would represent ‘a captive audience’.
The Chicago Sun-Times furthermore reported that the slots inside O’Hare and Midway would be seen by more people as the two venues together welcomed some 50.7 million travelers last year compared with the aggregated 25.7 million who passed through their Nevada counterparts.
Reportedly read the investigation from Union Gaming Analytics…
“Ultimately, slot machines at Chicago airports should perform notably better than those in Nevada’s airports. As such, greater total revenues and taxes would be achieved by [allocating] a few hundred slot machines to Midway and O’Hare airports.”
The newspaper reported that the option to bring slots to Chicago’s airports is contained within expanded gaming legislation that was recently signed into law by Illinois Governor Jay Robert Pritzker. However, in order to be granted the sole license, the preferred operator must purportedly first have been selected to run an envisioned downtown Chicago casino and agree to an effective 72% tax rate.
This final stipulation has faced criticism for being too high although Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot has indicated that she is currently working with state lawmakers in hopes of finding a more equitable solution. Nevertheless, the Democratic politician told the newspaper that her administration intends to maintain a ‘significant amount of local control’ and does not want to transform either O’Hare International Airport or Chicago Midway International Airport into ‘gambling dens.’
Lightfoot told the newspaper…
“We haven’t set the parameters yet but there is going to be a very, very high hurdle reached before we see any gaming at our airports. We are not going to turn Chicago into a location that’s unrecognizable from where we are.”