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Video gambling keeps growing

Illinois Valley gaming hit record highs, again, last year

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Did you do any video gambling last year? Karla Olson of Tonica gambles at PJ’s Lucky Dollar in Oglesby. 2018 was another record-breaking year in video gaming revenue for the Illinois Valley and the entire state. Revenues continue to increase since video gaming started in 2012.

Located south of Burger King in Oglesby’s industrial park are five of Oglesby’s active slot machines.

P.J.’s Lucky Dollar, a bar and gaming spot built onto the front of a body shop, was opened about three years ago. It might not be the most conventional spot for a tavern, but the business continues to earn revenue for the city of Oglesby, which had one of the biggest net gains over its 2017 gaming totals compared to other municipalities in the Illinois Valley.

“We didn’t really expect it to take off like it has,” said Karla Olson, an employee at P.J.’s Lucky Dollar.

Video gambling had another banner year in the Illinois Valley and across the state in 2018. The revenues made from the ever-expanding market hit new heights again as video gaming searches for its tipping point. Gaming first started in Illinois in September 2012.

About $42.7 million was played in machines in La Salle, Bureau and Putnam counties. That’s up from 2017’s total of $38.1 million — or about a 12.2 percent increase. That’s the biggest jump in revenue the area has seen since 2015.

As a whole, Illinois’ video gaming industry grew to just under $1.5 billion in 2018, up from $1.3 billion in 2017.

Overall, the numbers continue to trend upward, but not all towns in the area were part of that increase. Here is how the numbers break down. (Data is provided by the Illinois Gaming Board)

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Who showed growth?

Arlington, Cedar Point, Cherry, DePue, Earlville, Granville, Hennepin, Hollowayville, Kangley, Ladd, LaMoille, La Salle, Leland, Leonore, Manlius, Mark, Marseilles, Mendota, Mineral, Oglesby, Ohio, Ottawa, Peru, Princeton, Sheffield, Sheridan, Spring Valley, Streator, Tiskilwa, Tonica, Utica, Walnut, Wyanet

Who did not show growth?

Buda, Bureau County, Bureau Junction, Dalzell, La Salle County, Lostant, Magnolia, McNabb, Naplate, Neponset, Putnam County, Ransom, Seneca, Standard, Troy Grove

Brett Herrmann can be reached at (815) 220-6933 or svreporter@newstrib.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SpringValley.

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NewsTribune Online Editor covering Spring Valley and Dalzell. Contact him at (815) 220-6933 or svreporter@newstrib.com

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