URBANA - American Legion devotees in Urbana must be especially smitten with the Christmas spirit this year, because as a gift to the rest of us, they are generously and voluntarily assuming more than their fair share of Illinois taxes.
Having put more than $1 milion into the five new video poker machines in the month of November alone, the gamblers lost $71,000 in one month. Of their losses, nearly $21,000 went to the state of Illinois. The News Gazette explains why Illinois is so excited about the exponential growth of video gambling locations throughout the state.
Players put $1,066,459 into five machines at the American Legion in November, and they lost $71,193 of it, according to a report from the Illinois Gaming Board.
The state takes 30 percent of what players lose in the machines; 25 percent goes for state capital projects and the remaining 5 percent is distributed to the local government. That is $49,835 for the American Legion, $17,798 for state capital projects and $3,560 for the city of Urbana — just in the month of November.
And the more American Legion gamblers lose, the better the tax haul.
October was a better month for the American Legion and the city — players put a bit less money into the machines, but they didn't do as well, losing $72,884. That meant $51,019 for the American Legion, $18,221 for the state and $3,644 for the city. Numbers were smaller in September, when the machines had just barely come online.
And that's how the state and mini-casinos set up machines electronically - for players to lose 20 cents of every dollar they play. Evidently, there are lots of generous fellow taxpayers in Urbana.