Casinos in Illinois are rebounding after COVID lockdowns

Casinos in Ill. are rebounding after dealing with COVID. That is especially good news for Metropolis who gets the a share of local tax revenue from the casino
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 5:23 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2023 at 5:32 PM CST
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METROPOLIS, Ill. (KFVS) - Casinos in Illinois are rebounding after dealing with COVID lockdowns. That’s good news for Metropolis, where the city gets the lion’s share of local tax revenue from its casino.

The city of Metropolis uses that tax revenue for roads, police, fire and much more. The mayor says he is happy to see the rebound.

“If we didn’t have Harrah’s here you would probably not have as many police officers, not as many fireman and your equipment would probably be a lot worse than it is,” said Donald Canada, Mayor of Metropolis.

And his city depends on the out of town gamblers from around the Midwest to make a journey to his town.

The money is now flowing. But COVID-19 had a big impact on Harrah’s Casino, with local tax revenue being just over $1.2M.

The casino was only open 147 days. It was closed from mid-march through the end of June. But as the gambling returned so did the revenue, $3.2M in 2021.

And last year in 2022, the casino was open every day and that translated into more than $3.5 million in tax revenue.

“Most of it goes into the general fund, then hits all of those departments. Just for an example our police and fire budgets is around 3.8 million a year,” said Canada. “So you just said 3 and a half million. So if we just wanted to use it for those two departments it would all be gone. It goes into a little bit of everything. It goes into our street, pension plans.”

Canada says Harrah’s has been a positive addition to the city and the county over the years.

“When it first originally talked about it, everybody had the oh we’re going to have more crime, more this, more that. It really never came with it. We don’t have anymore now than we did without out it,” said Canada.

Canada said that the rollover from the casino is also felt in the town. He says many eat at their local restaurants and get there gas here in the home of superman.