Illinois Casino Revenue Up $4 Million From April, But Down For 2019

Posted on July 15, 2019

Gambling in the Land of Lincoln fared better in May, but the overall Illinois casino revenue situation for 2019 is still a net loss.

The Illinois Gaming Board’s casino report for May shows an improvement from April. As compared to May 2018 and 2018 as a whole, however, numbers are still lacking.

Illinois casino revenue details for May 2019

The Illinois Gaming Board report shows adjusted gross receipts of $118,203,492 for May 2019. The total admissions to the state’s facilities surpassed 900,000.

Those receipts netted the state over $31 million. Local municipalities received nearly $7 million. Broken down by facility, one operator was responsible for a large portion.

Rivers Casino Des PlainesĀ brought in a third of the receipt total. The same casino accounted for almost 29% of all admissions in May.

With the pending commencement of sports betting, those figures are good news. When compared to April 2019’s numbers, they look even better.

Casino revenue up from April

The board reported a total of adjusted gross receipts in April of $114,764,461. The overall improvement month-to-month largely was due to a 12% increase at East St. Louis’ Casino Queen.

Hollywood Casino in Joliet saw the greatest traffic increase month-over-month, jumping over 20%. Overall, the state’s facilities saw an admissions uptick of 6.3% over April.

From April to May, 10 of the state’s 12 casinos saw an increase in adjusted gross receipts. Only the Grand Victoria in Elgin and Argosy in Alton had worse months.

The receipts decrease at Argosy was a staggering 64.8%. Argosy also had the worst admissions decrease at nearly 73%.

Although May looked good as compared to April, other comparisons are nowhere near as positive for the bottom lines.

Illinois casino numbers down from a year ago

Last May, Illinois casinos posted an adjusted gross receipts total of $120,274,163. May 2019 represents a decrease of 1.72%.

As could be expected, Argosy saw the worst year-over-year fall. Its receipts total was nearly 69% better in May of 2018.

In terms of admissions totals, Illinois casinos overall were down 3.3% year-over-year. Argosy’s admissions total went down nearly 77% to again lead the pack.

The not-so-great news continues when comparing the first five months of this year to the first five months of 2018.

The year so far in casino admissions and receipts

Total adjusted gross receipts for 2019 through May come to $551,427,709. In 2018, that figure was $573,549,357.

Mostly responsible for that 3.86% deficit in receipts is the same culprit. Argosy is down nearly 18% on its year-to-date receipts when compared with 2018.

The admissions comparison to this point last year is even worse. As a whole, Illinois casino admissions are down 6.4% over 2018. Three casinos are down double figures in terms of percentage, led by Argosy at 21.8%.

Illinois ports betting’s pitfalls and promise

While it’s uncommon for casino executives to panic over a year-over-year decrease of less than 2% in receipts, there is cause to pay attention to these numbers.

Neighboring Indiana is likely to get legal sports betting implemented before casinos in Illinois. That could further drive traffic across the border. Casinos in Indiana will also allow betting on college games, something that will be illegal in Illinois.

Illinois will counter with new casinos within its borders. That could increase overall figures, but it also represents new competition for existing facilities.

Legalized betting on events like Chicago Sky games could help Illinois casinos continue the trend of numbers improving. Until that’s implemented, casinos will have to rely on other means to match and surpass their performance from 2018.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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