SPRINGFIELD -- As Gov. Pat Quinn mulls whether to create five new casinos and allow slot machines at Arlington Park, current Illinois casinos continue to struggle, a new report shows.
The Illinois Gaming Board's monthly revenue report for May shows a 4.3 percent drop in casino revenue statewide compared to the first five months of 2010, as recession-hampered gamblers decide more often to fold 'em than hold 'em.
That drop includes a 1.5 percent decrease in gross revenue at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin and a 3.1 percent drop so far this year at the Hollywood Casino in Aurora, the report shows.
That gradual decline has taken a big bite out of casino revenues since 2007.
The Grand Victoria, for example, has seen its annual revenue drop from $437 million in 2007 to $287 million last year, a 34 percent drop.
That's part of the argument gambling expansion opponents are taking to Quinn. There's no reason to expand, they say, if current casinos are in decline. Supporters of expansion say, though, that gambling operations still make money and could deliver more tax money to the state.
The downward wagering market is the one Des Plaines' Rivers Casino will open into next month.
Illinois Casino Gaming Association Executive Director Tom Swoik says officials there are obviously aware of the situation.
"I'm sure that's been part of their planning," Swoik said.
Des Plaines could be hampered by a Lake County casino or slot machines at Arlington Park that are called for in legislation approved by lawmakers.
Quinn gets the final call and could make changes to the proposal that would have to be re-approved by lawmakers. He hasn't voiced much support.
But it's not officially on the governor's desk yet, as a legislative maneuver holds the plan up to buy supporters some time to lobby Quinn.