Illinois Casino Revenues Continue Their Recovery In August

Illinois Casino Revenues Continue Their Recovery In August
By Bryce Derouin

Illinois casinos saw an incremental gain in revenue for August compared to July, earning $87,394,068 in revenue — a 5.78% percent increase from the previous month. August was just the second full month of Illinois casino gaming since the facilities reopened at a 50% capacity mandated by the state. The 10 casinos also saw a 15% increase of admissions compared to July, with 555,743 people visiting in August.

The $87,394,068 Adjusted Growth Revenue (AGR) in the state was down 25.8% compared to August 2019. For this year, the 10 commercial casinos in Illinois have combined for an AGR of $420,625,486, down 53% from the opening seven-month total in 2019 of $895,927,496.

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Similar to others across the country, Illinois casinos were closed for months because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. They reopened on July 1, marking the first full month of operations at a reduced 50% capacity. According to the American Gaming Association, casinos in Illinois have an annual economic impact of about $3 million and a tax impact of nearly $923 million in a typical year.

River Casino in Des Plaines is the largest in the state and drew the biggest revenue for the second straight month, with an AGR of $32,761,645, down nearly 13% of its August 2019 total of $37,598,367.

Illinois Video Gaming Rises

For the second straight month, Illinois’ Video Gaming Terminal (VGT) experienced a growth compared to 2019. In July, VGT revenues saw an increase of 24% from $134.3 million in 2019 to $166 million in July 2020. August 2020 saw similar growth, with VGT revenue at $164.4 million, up 16% from $141.5 million in August 2019.

Some of the growth can be attributed to higher tax rates this year, up from 30% in 2019 to 34% currently. The increased rate is from a gambling expansion bill that Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed last year.

Similar to July, the total amount played on Illinois VGTs was over $2 billion in August, an increase of 19% from the July 2019 total of $1.7 billion.

Sports Wagering Encouraging in July

August’s sports wagering numbers in Illinois have yet to be released, but the July figures showed the state taking in $52.5 million in wagers. After winnings were paid out, sportsbooks hauled in $3.6 million with the state earning $544,000 after getting 15% in taxes.

Rivers Casino in Des Plaines handled over $29.4 million on over 675,000 wagers and Argosy Casino Alton generated nearly $540,000 on-site in July.

With the return of professional sports, August’s numbers could see an increase from the July total. MLB began its season on July 23 and the NBA and NHL restarted the following week.



Bryce joined after spending the last nine years covering high school and college sports throughout Michigan. He’s served as the primary Division II beat writer for Grand Valley State and Michigan Tech. Along with his newspaper background, he's worked in marketing and recently co-founded Upbeat — the Upper Peninsula of Michigan’s first subscription-based prep sports website. His favorite sports to gamble on are football, basketball, baseball and Formula 1.

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