Illinois casinos have rebounded sharply to surpass pre-pandemic levels. Year-to-date figures through March show adjusted gross revenues, total taxes and admissions are all at their highest level since 2018.
Figures released by the Illinois Gaming Board show total adjusted gross revenue figures for all 12 Illinois casinos was $358.7 million through the first three months of 2023.
That’s up 19% year-to-date over the 2022 AGR of $300.5 million and is the highest total since the $354.6 million reached in 2016.
Taxes, attendance figures highest since 2018
Meanwhile, taxes and attendance figures for the first three months of 2023 are both at their highest levels since 2018.
This year, there have been 2.48 million total admissions at Illinois casinos, so far. In 2018, 2.63 million people were in attendance.
As for taxes, a state share of more than $49 million and a local share of $20.4 million meant total taxes of more than $69.5 million from Illinois casinos through March. That last time taxes were higher was in 2018 when the figure was $72.8 million.
Sharp rebound from the pandemic years
Closures during the COVID-19 pandemic were particularly tough on Illinois casinos in 2020 and 2021.
Through March of 2020, in the earliest days of the pandemic, gross revenue was more than $250.5 million. That number dropped to just under $210 million through the first three months of 2021, before rebounding to more than $300.5 million last year.
That means this year’s revenue total is up 71% when compared to 2021.
Admission figures show the same picture.
This year’s casino admissions of 2.48 million is nearly double the more than 1.26 million reached in 2021.
How the newest Illinois casinos are doing
It helps, 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 six weeks of operation, it had adjusted gross revenue of a little more than $10.3 million.
Though, attendance has been strong. The Temporary had 108,537 admissions with only 45 days to show for it, compared to 90 for the other casinos.
Rivers Casino led the state. It had admissions of 743,408 and revenue of more than $53.8 million through the first three months of 2023.
The temporary Hard Rock Casino in Rockford opened in November of 2021. Officially called Rockford Casino: A Hard Rock Opening Act, the facility has had gross revenue of a little more than $16 million in 2023 and admissions of 140,635.
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.