The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) reported casino revenue totaling $114.4 million for the month of December, as the gaming discipline generated $290 million in state tax revenue for the 2022 calendar year.
Overall, the state’s 11 venues generated $1.35 billion in operator revenue in 2022, an increase of 13.6% compared to the $1.19 billion generated in 2021. The two numbers are not true like-for-like comparisons, as capacity limits were in place in the early part of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Hard Rock opened its temporary venue in Rockford in November of that year.
In addition to the state tax revenue, local communities and municipalities received more than $75.6 million in tax receipts. The inflow of taxes to state coffers was $41.3 million more than last year, as benchmarks in revenue were reached by each operator.
Net Terminal Income (NTI) from play at video gaming terminals (VGTs) ticked higher for the final month of the year to $233.6 million, a 3.9% increase from November. The state’s share of taxes from VGTs totaled $67.7 million for December and $796.1 million for the calendar year, an increase of 10.9% from the $717.7 million generated in 2021. The share for local municipalities, meanwhile, was $11.7 million for December and $135.5 million for 2022.
State casino revenue numbers do not include sports wagering in Illinois, which has generated an additional $714 million in operator revenue the first 11 months of the year and $106.9 million in state taxes. When adding tax totals from casino gaming, VGT play, and sports betting, the state surpassed $1 billion in tax receipts.
More admissions lead to more revenue
Overall, Illinois casinos reported 9.1 million admissions for the 2022 calendar year, up 18.4% from 2021. Rivers Casino in Des Plaines accounted for 2.8 million alone, as its location just outside the Chicago city limits and in close proximity to O’Hare International Airport provided plenty of access to most of the state’s 12-million-plus residents.
The venue, co-owned by Churchill Downs and Rush Street Gaming, was again the bellwether for gaming in Illinois. as the $528.7 million in revenue generated at Rivers accounted for nearly 40% of the state’s overall amount and was 15.4% higher than its 2021 haul of $458.2 million. Rivers narrowly posted a year-best in table games revenue in December, as the monthly total of $19 million was about $1,000 better than its August total.
Rivers’ total table games revenue of $205.7 million for 2022 represented nearly 61% of state casinos’ overall winnings on felt. Its $73.83 in table games revenue per admission was more than triple the $22.73 average across Illinois’ other nine venues that offered table games. Rivers paid $146.2 million in state taxes in 2022, more than half the overall total generated by the state’s progressive rates.
Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin was the only other venue whose table games revenue accounted for at least 10% of the state’s overall total, narrowly hitting that benchmark at $34 million for the year. Grand Victoria, which recently opened a revamped poker room and sportsbook, had $7 million of that total generated the final two months of 2022. The $338.7 million in table games winnings statewide was 14.1% better than the 2021 total of $296.8 million.
Hard Rock ended the full year of operations at its “Opening Act” with $54.7 million in revenue, all from electronic gaming device and slot play, while averaging $118.01 per admission. Hard Rock, which hopes to open its permanent venue near the Wisconsin state line in the fourth quarter of 2023, came within $38,000 of reaching $5 million in revenue for the third time in 2022 in December. It also made $8.9 million in state tax payments for the 2022 calendar year.
Grand Victoria and Harrah’s Joliet were the only other casinos besides Rivers to surpass $100 million in slot revenue for 2022, though Hollywood Casino in Aurora came within $570,000 of nine figures. Harrah’s also paced all casinos in revenue per slot admission at $156.22, notably higher than the $110.99 statewide average, with Grand Victoria second at $130.60 and Harrah’s Metropolis near the Kentucky border taking the final podium spot at $126.80.
Operators barely cleared $1 billion in slot revenue for the calendar year, with December’s $84.6 million putting it $10 million over the threshold. It was a 13.4% increase from the $890.5 million reported in 2021.
This year figures to be a crucial one for the Illinois casino industry, as locations granted licenses in the 2019 gaming expansion bill should see operators finally conducting business at either temporary or permanent venues. The venue with the biggest expectations is in downtown Chicago, where Bally’s is waiting to be declared “preliminary suitable” by the IGB to begin clearing out space for its proposed $1.8 billion venue in the River West neighborhood.
Bally’s, which will operate a temporary location at Medinah Temple in nearby River North if approved by the IGB, has actively engaged the community, which has been skeptical with all the needed infrastructure improvements the city will perform in addition to Bally’s commitments in that area. The city is hoping Bally’s casino will generate $800 million in annual revenue at full maturity, with the city receiving $200 million in tax revenue per year to help address pension shortfalls.
Full House Resorts is expected to open its temporary venue in Waukegan in the northeast part of Illinois during the first quarter, while suburban Cook County, Danville, and Williamson County are all expected to offer gaming on some level in 2023.
Another year of notable VGT growth
In the 2022 calendar year, the number of establishments statewide granted licenses by the IGB to offer VGT play increased by 422 to 8,226, while the number of machines in play surged nearly 8% to 45,008. In December, the increase in revenue was aided by a rise in the “funds in,” which is the actual money entered into VGTs by bettors.
The $898.1 million in funds in was a 3.3% increase from November, lifting the total for the year to $10.5 billion — an increase of 9.2% compared to 2021. December’s total, though, was 7.7% off the 2022 high of $973.4 million established in March, partially reflecting economic headwinds nationwide.
The overall NTI of $2.7 billion was up 9.5% from 2021, aided by the hold increasing nearly one-fifth of a percentage point to above 8.5% on $31.8 billion handle, when including the churn of playing beyond the funds inserted into the VGTs. Handle increased 7% from the $29.8 billion in overall wagering on 41,467 VGTs over the course of 2021.