So far, 2023 is proving to be a comeback year for Illinois casinos. Year-to-date through April, the 12 physical casinos in the Land of Lincoln have, collectively, produced adjusted gross revenue of nearly $487 million. That’s the highest revenue since 2014.
Year-over-year, revenue is up 15% over 2022’s AGR of more than $423 million and up and 12% since 2019’s four-month total of more than $433 million. That was the most recent year prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A rebound from some tough pandemic years was expected. But the April numbers, released today by the Illinois Gaming Board, show the industry is healthier than it has been in many years.
Illinois casinos produced $100 million in total taxes
What does all this mean for the people of Illinois? Strong tax revenue.
Total casino taxes of just shy of $100 million in the first four months of 2023 is the most since 2019’s total of just over $100 million for the same period.
Through April, the state share of taxes was nearly $72 million. The local share was nearly $28 million.
Casino attendance is at its highest level in five years. The 2023 casino attendance of nearly 3.4 million is the best since a little more than 3.5 million people visited a an Illinois casino in the first four months of 2018.
How the newest Illinois casino is doing
It helps this year’s numbers a little that Illinois is now home to 12 casinos. At this time last year, it was 11. In the nine years prior to that, there were 10.
The newest casino in the state, The Temporary in Waukegan, opened on Feb. 17.
It its first 10 weeks of operation, it had adjusted gross revenue of a little more than $17 million. The Temporary has had 164,799 admissions through April.
By comparison, the state’s largest gambling parlour, the Rivers Casino, has posted revenue of more than $71.3 million and attendance of nearly 1 million in 2023.
Comeback year putting the pandemic years in the rearview mirror
Closures during the COVID-19 pandemic were particularly tough on Illinois casinos in 2020 and 2021.
Through April of 2020, in the earliest days of the pandemic, gross revenue was more than $250.5 million. It’s important to note Illinois casinos were closed due to health orders on March 16, 2020. That means this year’s revenue total is up 94% when compared to 2020.
Revenue was more than $317.5 million through the first four months of 2021, before rebounding to more than $423 million last year.
Admission figures show the same picture.
In 2023, casino admissions of nearly 3.4 million is up 79% from 1.9 million in 2021.
Illinois sports betting also surging
Meanwhile, Illinois sportsbooks are also doing well. Though the latest Illinois sports betting figures are only available through February, the state produced handle of $875.4 million that month, ranking it second in the United States behind only New York ($1.47 billion) and ahead of New Jersey ($847.4 million), Nevada ($659.4 million) and Ohio ($639.8 million).
Prior to February, Illinois was riding a four-month streak with over $1 billion in handle each month. That streak made the Land of Lincoln just the fourth state to post four consecutive months of billion-dollar handle. The others are New York, New Jersey and Nevada.
The lack of football betting opportunities is mostly to blame for Illinois sportsbooks failing to hit $1 billion in sports betting handle for the first time in five months.