Illinois Casinos Return To Normal After Two Difficult Pandemic Years

Written By Dave Briggs on September 7, 2022
Illinois casino revenue in 2022 has nearly reached pre-pandemic levels after a significant declines in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19.

Illinois casinos are returning to normal following two difficult pandemic years. That’s the story from the numbers comparing the year-to-date figures from 2019 through this year.

In 2019, the Illinois Gaming Board listed adjusted gross revenue for the 10 Illinois casinos through July as $778 million.

During the start of the pandemic in 2020, IL casinos were closed from March 16 through June 30. That was the largest factor in a revenue drop of 55% comparing the year-to-date figures for 2020 with the year prior. In 2020 through July, casino revenue was over $333 million.

The numbers improved slightly in 2021, though pandemic restrictions obviously kept some casino gamblers home. In 2021, revenue checked in at over $650 million, up 95% over 2020.

This year, through July, casino revenue is over $773 million (there are now 11 casinos). That’s down just 0.5% from the last “normal” comparable year in 2019.

Illinois casino attendance has also rebounded

The combined attendance at Illinois’ 10 casinos has also mostly rebounded in 2022.

The numbers through July are as follows:

  • 2019 — 5,998,667
  • 2020 — 2,528,509
  • 2021 — 4,076,174
  • 2022 — 5,157,897

Illinois Casino Attendance - YTD through July

Revenue to state and local authorities also improving

The good news for Illinois taxpayers is the return to state and local authorities from casinos is also returning to pre-pandemic levels. Though, the state share is still off 23% through July as compared with 2019’s year-to-date numbers for the first seven months, The local share is down just 2% compared to 2019.

In 2019 through July, the state share of casino revenue was over $175 million and the local share was almost $45 million. That compares to almost $136 million and nearly $44 million in 2022, respectively, through the first seven months.

In 2020, the state share was some $51 million (down 71% from 2019) and the local share was over $19 million (down 58% from the year prior).

Last year through July, the state share was over $109 million and the local share was nearly $37 million.

Illinois Casino State and Local Share - YTD through July

Even more growth expected ahead

Numbers are expected to soar past 2019 levels before too long. Illinois is in the midst of a casino boom.

New gambling halls are planned for Danville, Waukegan, Williamson Country and the South Suburbs. And the granddaddy of then — a huge Bally’s casino — is being planned for downtown Chicago. A temporary casino is expected to be open in Chicago’s Medinah Temple in 2023.

Also, racinos at both Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero, IL and the FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing in Fairmount, IL, close to St. Louis.

Ranking Illinois casinos by revenue

By 2022 revenue through July, the Illinois casinos rank as follows:

  1. Rivers Casino — $294,147,012
  2. Grand Victoria Casino — $90,007,732
  3. Harrah’s Joliet Casino & Hotel — $79,395,565
  4. Hollywood Casino Aurora — $58,853,625
  5. Hollywood Casino Joliet — $51,368,201
  6. DraftKings at Casino Queen — $46,834,834.68
  7. Harrah’s Metropolis Casino — $36,932,706
  8. Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino — $35,647,924
  9. Bally’s Quad Cities Casino & Hotel — $31,131,054
  10. Hard Rock Casino Rockford — $30,504,280
  11. Argosy Casino Alton — $18,340,113
Photo by Shutterstock
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Dave Briggs

Dave Briggs is a managing editor and writer for Catena Media. His expertise is covering the gambling industry in North America with an emphasis on the casino, sports betting, horse racing and poker sectors. He is currently reporting on the gaming industries in Illinois and Canada.

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