July Revenue Tops $133 Million At Illinois Casinos

Written By T.J. McBride on September 19, 2023 - Last Updated on September 20, 2023
Picture of casino chips and cash representing Illinois July gaming figures.

July was a productive month for casino gambling and tax contributions in Illinois.

More than $133.2 million of revenue was generated in July, which led to nearly $30.7 million in tax contributions. Revenue shot up by 9% compared to June, which saw $122.25 million of revenue from casino gaming. Year over year, July revenue was up 8.3%.

More than 960,000 customers visited Illinois casinos in July, and those patrons mostly played BlackJack 21 Plus 3 or penny slots.

Casino revenue should increase in September when Bally’s new temporary casino in Chicago reports its first numbers.

Blackjack 21 Plus 3 leads the way as most played game

With 14 Illinois casinos across The Land of Lincoln, there’s almost certainly a gaming hall nearby. For now, online casinos in Illinois are illegal.

Illinois has a strong casino market with a plethora of options. Over 20 different table games are available across the state and more than 10,000 slot machines. There was over $32.3 million in table game adjusted gross revenue (AGR) in July. Of that total, more than 20% came directly from BlackJack 21 Plus 3, which is a variation of basic blackjack with a side bet added.

A whopping $6.7 million of revenue was generated directly from that blackjack game. Rivers Casino Des Plaines is the undisputed leader when it comes to BlackJack 21 Plus 3, as 33 tables are dedicated to it. That helped Rivers run away with the top spot in terms of revenue in July.

There were three other table games that exceeded $5 million in revenue in July:

  • Mini-Baccarat: $5.3 million
  • Craps: $5.2 million
  • Roulette: $5 million

When it comes to most popular variety of slot machines, penny slots lead the way … by far. Of the 10,248 slot machines in the state, 6,652 are penny slots, which is just under 65% of all slot machines. The next most common are dollar slot machines with 1,165, followed by quarter slots at 887.

In total, the more than 10,000 slot machines in the state led to nearly $101 million in AGR in July.

Rivers Casino led the way in revenue in July

The leading casino in Illinois for July was Rivers Casino, with over $47 million in AGR. That is 35% of the state AGR coming from just one casino despite 14 more operating in the state in July.

Rivers’ table game AGR of over $18.4 million and slot machine AGR of $28.6 million both were higher individually than any other casino in totality. The more than 273,000 admissions to Rivers was more than 28% of the statewide total in July.

Rivers truly dominated the market in July, as it does in most months thanks to its massive gaming floor, which is biggest in the state. That gaming floor features the most table games and the most slot machines at one casino by far.

The tightly contested second place slot ended up going to Grand Victoria Casino, but it only had a 3% lead on Harrah’s Joliet Casino and Hotel. Here are all 13 casinos ranked by total revenue generated in July:

  1. Rivers Casino: $47 million
  2. Grand Victoria Casino: $12.6 million
  3. Harrah’s Joliet Casino and Hotel: $12.2 million
  4. Hollywood Casino Aurora: $8.7 million
  5. Hollywood Casino Joliet: $8.2 million
  6. The Temporary by American Place: $7.8 million
  7. DraftKings at Casino Queen: $7.1 million
  8. Harrah’s Metropolis Casino: $6.2 million
  9. Hard Rock Casino Rockford: $6.1 million
  10. Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino: $5.5 million
  11. Bally’s Quad Cities Casino and Hotel: $5.4 million
  12. Argosy Casino Alton: $3.2 million
  13. Golden Nugget Danville: $3.2 million

More than $30.6 million contributed to Illinois in July from casino gaming

Of the $30.6 million casinos paid into state coffers, around $7.6 million went to the local communities that house them.

Being that taxes are based off AGR, the casino with the most revenue generated also contributed the most in taxes. That means Rivers Casino led the way once again.

Here are the casinos ranked by both state share and local share of tax dollars:

  1. Rivers Casino: $14.8 million state taxes, $2.6 million local share
  2. Grand Victoria Casino: $2.7 million, $710,000 local share
  3. Harrah’s Joliet Casino and Hotel: $2.7 million, $677,000 local share
  4. Hollywood Casino Aurora: $1.5 million, $512,000 local share
  5. Hollywood Casino Joliet: $1.5 million, $470,000 local share
  6. The Temporary by American Place: $1.4 million, $457,000 local share
  7. DraftKings at Casino Queen: $1.3 million, $427,000 local share
  8. Hard Rock Casino Rockford: $1.1 million, $357,000 local share
  9. Harrah’s Metropolis Casino: $1.1 million, $353,000 local share
  10. Bally’s Quad Cities Casino and Hotel: $990,000, $335,000 local share
  11. Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino: $971,000, $313,000 local share
  12. Argosy Casino Alton: $390,000, $195,000 local share
  13. Golden Nugget Danville: $380,000, $190,000 local share

Bally’s temporary Chicago casino numbers will come in a couple months

As of Sept. 9, the first ever casino within Chicago passed all inspections and tests and opened its doors.

Bally’s Chicago, albeit in a temporary facility within the Medinah Temple, is now taking wagers and allowing bettors in to hit its tables and play its slot machine games. While many are curious how popular the addition of a Chicago casino will be, they will have to wait for September casino numbers to be released.

There were players lined up as early as 6:30 a.m. to be one of the firsts to play at Bally’s Chicago, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. With over 800 slot machines and 50 table games, there was no lack of options despite being in a temporary facility.

Bally’s Chicago is casino No. 14 in Illinois. Its permanent facility is expected to open in three years. Bally’s current plans are to begin construction on it in River West in early 2024. The hope is for a 2026 grand opening, but with such a complex process of adding a casino to such a populated area, many expect delays.

For now, the temporary casino is open every day from 8 a.m. to 4 a.m.

Photo by Shutterstock / Illustration by PlayIllinois
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T.J. McBride

T.J. McBride is a writer and reporter based in Denver. He covers the gaming landscape across multiple states in addition to his main beat covering the NBA's Denver Nuggets. His NBA work can be found at several major media outlets including ESPN, FiveThirtyEight and Bleacher Report.

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