Illinois Casino Revenue Hits $120.1M In July, While VGTs Deliver $223.6M

A surge in attendance across Illinois’ 10 casinos resulted in $120.1 million in table and electronic gaming revenue in July, the highest total of the year to date.

The figure, published by the Illinois Gaming Board, represents a 14.1% increase from June’s amount of $105.3 million and topped the previous high of $107.8 million established in April. There were 795,855 admissions statewide in July, 16% more than the 686,251 reported in June as all 10 casinos reported increased admissions.

The increase in attendance and revenue was a welcome sight for operators compared with July 2020 numbers. Venues had just reopened after being shuttered for more than three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and were operating under limited capacity mitigation measures. The 483,234 admissions generated $82.6 million in revenue.

The state was also the beneficiary from the uptick in admissions last month, as it collected more than $26.4 million in tax receipts, while local municipalities received more than $6.8 million. Through the first seven months of 2021, the 10 casinos have generated $650.2 million in revenue, with the state collecting $109.1 million in taxes.

As would be expected when comparing figures and factoring in more than three months of closures, the 2021 figures are nearly double that of 2020, as the 10 venues generated close to $333.2 million in revenue and $50.5 million in tax receipts by this time last year.

Volume fuels July’s rise

The sharp increase in revenue can be attributed to attendance volume, considering the $150.99 generated per admission was slightly lower than June’s $153.48 average. The increased traffic, though, resulted in $336.68 of revenue per square foot of casino space, up 14.1% from the $295.10 the previous month.

Rivers Casino continues to be the primary destination for casino-goers, as the venue just outside Chicago’s city limits in Des Plaines generated $47.4 million in revenue in July. This marks a 14.8% month-over-month increase, as attendance climbed 16.5% from June. Rivers led the state’s casinos with $196.39 per admission and a staggering $1,085.22 per square foot, and accounted for more than 57% of the state’s table revenue with over $17.1 million. Its $30.2 million generated via EGD also represented a 22.2% increase compared to June. For the year, Rivers has generated 58.9% of the state’s table-gaming revenue and 38% of the overall revenue with close to $247 million.

Grand Victora Casino in Elgin ($11.3 million) and Harrah’s in Joliet ($11.1M) were the other sites to reach eight figures in EGD revenue, with the latter finishing second overall with $182.01 per admission. Grand Victoria was third at $162.85, and claimed runner-up honors for revenue per square foot ($473.86).

Seven of the 10 casinos cleared at least $1 million in table games revenue, as Harrah’s Joliet location reported more than $3.2 million — a 32% increase from June — and was the only other venue to clear $3 million in revenue from table games.

All 10 casinos generated at least $100 in revenue per square foot, while Argosy Casino Alton ($87.22) and Jumer’s ($85.44) were the lone venues to not reach $100 per admission.

Video gaming terminals continue to deliver

Still underpublicized compared to casinos in terms of generating revenue and state taxes, the extensive network of video gaming terminals (VGTs) across Illinois delivered healthy amounts in both categories in July. A total of nearly $2.7 billion was wagered on more than 40,000 machines at 7,670 locations statewide, a 4.9% increase versus the close to $2.6 billion bet in June.

Those machines generated more than $223.5 million in Net Terminal Income (NTI), a 4.9% increase from June. That resulted in $76 million in tax receipts, with the state collecting more than $64.8 million of that sum and local municipalities receiving the remaining $11.2 million.

While the 2021 casino revenues are closer to two times the total of 2020 figures, handle and revenue from VGTs has moved well beyond a 2.0 multiplier through the first seven months in a year-to-year comparison. It’s worth noting that these terminals were unavailable during the pandemic for the same time period casinos were shuttered.

There has been nearly $16.9 billion wagered via VGTs in 2021, 2.56 times the $6.6 billion bet through this time last year. The NTI has averaged more than $200 million per month to slightly more than $1.4 billion for the year, also a 2.56 multiplier compared to 2020’s total of $548.1 million.

The state has claimed nearly $407.5 million of the $477.7 million in overall taxes this year and is on pace to receive just shy of $700 million in tax receipts — which would be more than double its 2020 take of $325.2 million.

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