Illinois Casinos Nearly Triple Revenue In February To $78 Million


Open for an entire month, though still at reduced capacity, Illinois‘ 10 casinos reported combined revenue of slightly more than $78 million for the month of February, according to the Illinois Gaming Board.

With all 10 casinos operating at 50% capacity, the venues accommodated 450,000 admissions last month — well above January’s total of almost 160,000. With the increase in traffic came a notable increase in revenue: The $78 million was nearly three-fold January’s total of $26.2 million as the casinos re-opened in mid-January as part of the progress made in COVID-19 mitigation.

Despite the month-over-month increase, February’s total represents a 23.7% dip in year-over-year revenue. In the final full month of operation prior to the pandemic in 2020, Illinois’ casinos generated more than $102.3 million in revenue, which resulted in nearly $15.8 million in taxes for the state. Last month’s revenue total generated just shy of $8.7 million for Illinois coffers.

The state’s 38,000-plus video game terminals (VGTs) spanning nearly 7,400 establishments generated $171.5 million in revenue, more than double January’s total of nearly $80.8 million. The state collected more than $49.7 million in tax revenue in February and over $77.2 million for the first two months of the year.

Due to different accounting rules, sports wagering reports are generated on a different timetable, and the IGB has yet to release those numbers for February

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Rivers continues to be top revenue performer

The state’s 10 casinos generated $173.48 of adjusted gross revenue per admission last month, an increase of 5.7% compared to January’s $164.06 and 42.9% from February 2020’s average of $121.39. While the $218.65 of AGR per square foot was almost three times January’s average of $73.49, it was also 23.7% less year-over-year as the venues averaged $286.71 per square foot in February 2020.

Rivers Casino continues to be the top performer in terms of revenue, accounting for more than $29 million in February. The Des Plaines location, which recently announced plans for an $87 million expansion, accounted for more than 54% of the table games revenue, posting more than $11.5 million. In terms of EGD revenue, which includes slots, Rivers generated nearly 31% of that category total with more than $17.5 million.

Rivers also greatly inflated the AGR per square foot at $664.67, more than double the next-closest total generated by Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin ($318.43). Harrah’s Casino in Joliet, however, took top honors for highest AGR per admission at $218.97, edging out Rivers ($213.99). Rivers, Grand Victoria, and Harrah’s Joliet were the only locations to report figures in each category higher than the state average.

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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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