NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
N G I S C Chicago Meeting, May 20, 1998
THE HONORABLE KEVIN KELLY, MAYOR, ELGIN, IL
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Our third speaker is the Mayor of Elgin, Illinois, Kevin Kelly.
MAYOR KELLY: Thank you for inviting me to address you on the importance of casino gaming in Elgin, Illinois. The City of Elgin is proud to be the home of the Grand Victoria Casino, the number one casino in Illinois.
The Grand Victoria has had a tremendous impact on the Elgin community since opening in October, 1994. In addition to its substantial economic stimulus, it has had a dramatic positive benefit related to community pride and image.
The Grand Victoria employs approximately 1,600 and has a $37 million annual payroll. It generates an average of over 10,000 visits per day into a part of the community that previously could have been considered blighted. Total attendance since October, 1994 is over 12 million.
Grand Victoria's gaming and lease revenues to the city of Elgin have been in excess of $59 million, including nearly 19 million annually the last two years. This level is expected to continue, barring a change in Illinois' regulatory environment. These funds have allowed the city to make adjustments in our fundamental infrastructure and to provide tax relief and finance other initiatives which otherwise would have been beyond our capabilities.
Some examples of these expenditures include a state of the art communications system; renovation of our civic center; street improvements; property tax rebate; and programs for the arts. Attached for your analysis is a description of the initiatives and improvements the city of Elgin has funded with the casino revenues, as well as a list of our planned expenditures through the years 1998 to 2002. That's exhibit one.
On a broader scale, total cumulative revenues from the Grand Victoria to the State of Illinois are in excess of $122 million. The casino's agreement with county government provides for an annual contribution that recently exceeded nine million.
A fair assessment of the casino would not be complete without considering the Grand Victoria foundation, a charitable organization funded by gaming profits. Since March of last year the foundation has contributed over three and a half million dollars to philanthropic causes throughout the region.
The Grand Victoria has also helped enhance the image of Elgin center city. What was perceived as a declining area is now viewed with optimism. Our revitalization and renewal is more than image, it's reality. Since 1995 three of the largest and most distressed buildings in center city have undergone multi-million dollar renovations and now contain nearly 500 employees.
The casino's negative impact on Elgin has been negligible. Only 142 police calls were made to the Grand Victoria in the past year, most were for nuisance related problems. Attached for your review is documentation for all the police calls made and the type of calls since May 1st, 1994, exhibit two.
Further evidence of its minimal negative impact is quantified gambling addiction. The city-sponsored gambling addiction program started in January, 1996, and has served only 63 clients through September 30, 1997. Attached are the program statistics, exhibit three.
We believe the Grand Victoria Casino provides a win-win-win situation. It is an outstanding community asset. It is profitable as a business. And its customers enjoy the entertainment. Gaming has evolved from a form of vice to a form of entertainment. Thank you again for the opportunity to present these remarks. Best wishes for the success of your study.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Thank you.