Illinois Casino Revenue Jumps Past $141 Million In December

Written By T.J. McBride on January 9, 2024 - Last Updated on January 11, 2024
Photo of a man playing a slot machine at Rivers Des Plaines Casino on a story about December casino revenues in Illinois.

Illinois casinos saw a boost in revenue in December. It was both a month-over-month improvement and a year-over-year advancement.

Nearly 1.1 million people visited one of the casinos in Illinois during the last month of 2023, a 30% YoY growth. Admissions were also 10% higher than in November.

Casinos generated $141.2 million in adjusted gross revenue in December, a 7.7% improvement compared to the month prior and a growth of 19% compared to December 2022.

It resulted in casinos paying $37.8 million in taxes to the state in December.

Rivers Casino was the most profitable Illinois casino in December by far

The Illinois casino market consists of 15 commercial casinos. Illinois online casinos are still illegal in the Prairie State, but lawmakers are expected to debate the issue in this legislative session.

While all casinos are more or less doing well in Illinois, there is one casino that stands far above the rest. Rivers Casino Des Plaines paid more taxes in December than any other Illinois casino actually made in the month.

Rivers welcomed 279,106 people in December, which represented over 25% of all casino admissions across Illinois during the month. Its $45.4 million in adjusted gross revenue (AGR) accounted for 32.2% of the statewide total.

In December, Rivers generated $16.8 million from its table games, which was nearly half of the statewide table game AGR of $33.8 million. Rivers also accumulated another $28.6 million of revenue from slot machines, which was over 25% of the state total. There is simply no category in which Rivers did not dominate in December.

Grand Victoria was a distant second-place finisher in terms of revenue with $12.8 million. Of that total, $10.3 million came from slot machines, while $2.6 million came from table games.

Harrah’s Joliet Casino and Hotel came in third with $11.3 million AGR.

Here are all Illinois casinos’ AGR in December:

Illinois casinos pay $37.8 million in taxes in December

Taxes contributed from casino gaming also shot up in December. In total, the 15 casinos in Illinois paid $37.8 million in taxes. Of those taxes, $8.5 million is going to the municipalities that casinos reside in.

Casinos paid about 11% more in taxes compared to the month before. The amount was also more than was paid a year earlier, a 14% boost.

The three casinos that contributed the most tax dollars in December also made the most revenue.

  • Rivers Casino: $16 million ($2.6 million local taxes)
  • Grand Victoria Casino: $3.8 million ($716,685 local taxes)
  • Harrah’s Joliet Casino and Hotel: $3.3 million ($583,503 local taxes)

Illinois casino market is still shifting

The Illinois casino market is in a state of constant change. There are multiple casinos operating out of temporary facilities, like Bally’s Chicago, and others are preparing to relocate, such as both Hollywood casinos, one in Aurora, the other in Joliet.

Every casino is looking for its way to stand out. Bally’s just changed its hours to 24/7. Mark Wong, vice president and GM of Bally’s Chicago, believes the expanded hours will help the casino compete in a competitive market.

“Opening our doors 24/7 is an important step as we continue to increase our visitation,” Wong said in a statement. “This is a progression toward attaining the goals we set out to achieve and gives us similar hours to other local casino properties.”

Moving to 24/7 operational hours will help with revenue, but the big boost will come when the permanent facility is built and opened to the public. According to Baily’s Chicago President George Papanier, construction should begin in the second half of 2024.

“Regarding the Chicago permanent facility, by the end of 2023, we will have accounted for the majority of the soft costs outlined in the budget shared when the project was announced in 2022,” Papanier said in a statement. “We expect construction of the permanent facility to commence in the second half of 2024 once the [Tribune Company vacates] the premises in July.”

Photo by Shutterstock
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T.J. McBride

T.J. McBride is a writer and reporter based in Denver. He covers the gaming landscape across multiple states in addition to his main beat covering the NBA's Denver Nuggets. His NBA work can be found at several major media outlets including ESPN, FiveThirtyEight and Bleacher Report.

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