Illinois Casinos Up 5% In May And Nearly 18% In Year-Over-Year Gains

Written By Phil West on June 9, 2024
Balance sheet and stacks of coins signify strong month of May for Illinois casino revenue

With a mixed performance from the 15 Illinois casinos in operation, May’s total adjusted gross receipts were nearly 5% higher than April’s totals and nearly 18% greater than the revenue created in the previous May.

Illinois casinos combined for more than $143.8 million in revenue, with $107.2 million coming from electronic gaming devices and $36.6 million from table games. That was good for $27.3 million in state tax revenue for the month and close to $9 million in local tax revenues.

Rivers Casino sets the high mark

Rivers Casino in Des Plaines once again led the way, gaining from its April total of $42.2 million to a robust total of more than $44.7 million. Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin was second with $12.1 million, slightly down from April’s total adjusted gross receipts (AGR) of more than $12.4 million.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the month was a new third-place finisher, one of the most watched casinos in the state: Bally’s temporary Chicago casino in Medinah Temple. It recorded its best-ever month since opening last September, with more than $11.73 million in total AGR, up from a little more than $10.35 million the month before. That represented about a 13% month-over-month uptick.

Rivers and Bally’s combined for $21.5 million in table games revenue—approaching 60% of the total table games revenue from just those two casinos alone.

Mark Wong, Vice President and General Manager of Bally’s Chicago, said in a release put out by the casino on Friday,

Our continued growth demonstrates Bally’s Chicago Casino’s popularity with locals and tourists alike, aligns with our community engagement initiatives and supports our dedication to responsible gaming. Membership in our Bally’s Chicago Rewards Loyalty Program climbed 9.7 percent to pass 90,000 in May, contributing to our momentum as we grow closer to breaking ground on our permanent location.

With that surge in activity, Bally’s edged out April’s third-place finisher, Harrah’s Joliet Casino & Hotel, which only finished under $100,000 less than its prior month’s total, bringing in a bit more than $10.5 million to close out May.

Illinois casinos continue to surge in 2024

While eight of the Illinois casinos gained more in total AGR from April to May, seven of the 15 had better performances in April.

That meant, overall, Illinois had its second-best month of 2024 to date, only behind March’s $152.3 million bellwether month. For the year, the casinos have brought in more than $689.4 million in revenue, meaning they’re on track to generate more than $1.65 billion in revenue over the course of the calendar year. The state’s tax coffers have grown by more than $104.7 million since the start of the year from casino tax revenue, and that activity has brought close to $42 million for local entities.

Another source of gambling-related revenue, taxes on sports betting, has been a focal point of the latest budget debates. Last week, that was resolved with a graduated tax hike of anywhere from 20% to 40%, with major players like DraftKings and FanDuel doing the heaviest lifting in the new plan.

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Phil West

Phil West is a longtime journalist based in Austin, Texas, whose bylines have appeared in The Daily Dot, Nautilus, Pro Soccer USA, Howler, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Antonio Express-News, Austin American-Statesman, and Austin Chronicle. He has also written two books about soccer.

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