Illinois Casino Revenue Dips Slightly In June To $105.3 Million

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The Illinois Gaming Board reported casino revenue totaling slightly more than $105.3 million for June, the fourth straight month the state’s 10 venues combined to clear the $100 million mark.

The total represented a slight dip for the second consecutive month, though, as it was 1.6% lower than May’s figure of $107 million. April represents the high-water mark for the year at just under $107.8 million. Despite the small back-to-back slides, the figures still contrast positively to the first two months of 2021 when the casinos totaled just shy of $104.3 million combined.

In June of last year, casinos across Illinois were in their third full month of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This June 11, the state entered Phase 5 of Restore Illinois, which allowed gambling facilities to open at 100% capacity for the first time since their initial shuttering in March 2020.

The state received nearly $21.2 million in casino tax receipts for June, while the casinos’ local municipalities received close to $6 million. Illinois tax coffers have accepted more than $82.7 million in taxes through the first six months of the year, with local taxes totaling an additional $29.7 million.

The IGB releases casino and sports betting revenue reports separately, with sports betting reports lagging slightly due to rules regarding reporting. Illinois sportsbooks generated nearly $207.5 million in revenue through the first five months of 2021, resulting in over $31.1 million in taxes for the state.

Attendance virtually flat, Rivers remains top dog

There were 686,251 admissions to the state’s casinos in June, which was down by just 256 compared to May. Overall, three venues — Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin and the Harrah’s properties in Joliet and Metropolis — reported month-over-month increases. Harrah’s in Joliet had the highest percentage increase from May among the three at 9.2%. It generated more than $12.5 million in revenue, while Grand Victoria Casino was second in overall revenue, at just above $13 million while improving 1.7%.

Rivers Casino in Des Plaines continues to generate the bulk of the state’s casino revenue, leading the way in June with nearly $41.3 million. It also remained the largest producer of revenue per admission in Illinois, averaging $199.29 from its 207,192 admissions. Seven of the state’s venues reported $100 per admission or better in June. Harrah’s in Joliet showed a 12.8% increase compared to May, averaging $186.61 from its 67,064 head count.

Overall, Rivers accounted for 39.2% of the state’s casino revenue, and its $16.5 million derived from table games outpaced the other nine venues combined ($10.1 million) in that category. Rivers also was tops in revenue per square foot at a staggering $945.13, more than double second-place Grand Victoria ($437.59). At 43,687 square feet, Rivers trails only Harrah’s Joliet in size.

The overall revenue in the state per square foot is $295.10, but if discounting Rivers, the average among the other nine casinos drops to $204.44.

Despite more VGTs in operation, play and NTI drop again

Illinois, which is the top revenue producer in the country in regards to video gaming terminals (VGTs), saw declines in both the dollar amount played and the net terminal income for the third straight month. That came despite increases in both the number of venues and machines in operation to new highs for 2021.

The state’s 40,157 VGTs spanning 7,623 venues accepted nearly $2.56 billion worth of play, a drop of 6.6% compared to May’s total of more than $2.74 billion. It was 13.5% off the 2021 peak of more than $2.96 billion, which came in March when there were 1,754 fewer terminals in operation. Overall, the number of VGTs in operation has steadily climbed throughout the year, starting with 37,145 in January, and last month marked the first time in 2021 more than 40,000 were live.

The net terminal income (NTI) from the VGTs in June totaled nearly $213.2 million, a drop of 6.8% compared to May’s figure of $228.8 million. Nearly $72.5 million in taxes were generated from the NTI, with the state claiming more than $61.8 million and local municipalities the remaining $10.7 million.

March also represented the 2021 high in NTI thus far at more than $246.6 million, with June’s total nearly 13.6% lower. There has been nearly $1.2 billion in net terminal income from more than $14.2 billion played on VGTs in 2021, with state taxes totaling close to $342.7 million and a local share of more than $59 million.

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Chris Altruda has been a sportswriter with ESPN, The Associated Press, and STATS over more than two decades. He recently expanded into covering sports betting and gambling around the Midwest.

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