Illinois Casinos Start To Rebound in Month After Reopening

Illinois Casinos Start To Rebound in Month After Reopening
By Jim Tomlin

Casinos in Illinois made just over $82.6 million in revenue for July, their first full month since reopening. The 10 facilities combined for nearly 500,000 admissions over the month while operating at 50% capacity as mandated by the state. The news was better for the state in July regarding slot machines.

That $82,617,169 in Adjusted Gross Revenues (AGR) was down 28.6% from the July 2019 figure of $115,751,184. For the year, the Illinois casinos have combined for a cumulative AGR of $333.2 million, down 57% from the pace set in 2019 of $778 million through seven months.

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The state’s 10 commercial casinos (there are no tribal casinos in Illinois) were closed for months because of the coronavirus pandemic. They reopened on July 1. The American Gaming Association estimates that the casinos have an annual economic impact of nearly $3 billion and a tax impact of about $923 million per year in a normal year.

The largest casino in the state, Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, drew $30,292,260 in July, according to figures from the Illinois Gaming Board. That was down 18% from the July 2019 figure of $36,957,319. But Rivers came closer than any other Illinois casino in matching year-over-year production. Eight of the casinos were down more than 20% and Jumers in Rock Island was down the most, 55.6% from 12 months earlier.

Illinois VGT Revenue Rises vs. 2019

Illinois gaming fared better in July in the Video Gaming Terminal (VGT) realm.

The Net Terminal Income from VGTs in July was $166 million, up nearly 24% from July 2019, when it was $134.3 million.

The tax rate on video slots is higher than this time last year, 30% to 34%, after a gambling expansion bill that Gov. JB Pritzker signed last year, according to a Chicago Sun-Times article.

The total amount played, or handle, on Illinois VGTs was just over $2 billion in July, up 23% over the $1.624 billion in July 2019.

Chicago Casino Closer to Reality

A proposal to build a casino in Chicago has gone through a long process but this summer has seen some encouraging signs.

Specifically, Pritzker signed Senate Bill 516, which set the adjusted gross gaming receipts from 22.5% to 77.4% on slots and 15-35% for table games.



Jim Tomlin has more than 30 years of experience in sports journalism as an editor and writer. He has covered pro and college sports from football, baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, motorsports and more for publications such as the Tampa Bay Times,, and FanRag Sports. He now lends his expertise to, among other duties.

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