The Illinois Gaming Board reported nearly $116 million in casino revenue for October as venues around the state picked up the slack with top revenue generator Rivers Casino reporting slightly declining figures for the fourth consecutive month.
The figure represented a 1.9% improvement on September’s total of $113.8 million, fueled by a sharp 6.2% rise in table games revenue to a 2022-best $30.4 million. Overall slot revenue inched 0.5% higher to $85.6 million in October as operators avoided a third consecutive month of decline in that gaming discipline.
Revenue from video gaming terminals (VGTs) also picked up in October, increasing 4.1% to $234.6 million. That is the highest total since the $243.8 million generated in April and the first above $230 million since May’s $231.6 million.
Year-over-year metrics were also positive, though some of that can be attributed to casinos being closed for portions of early 2021 due to COVID-19 concerns. October’s overall casino revenue was 6.3% higher compared to last year’s $109.1 million, with revenues from both individual gaming disciplines improving more than 6%.
The state collected close to $30.8 million in tax receipts from operators, a high-water mark for the year and 5.7% more than October 2021. Illinois‘ progressive tax rate on casino revenue has led to a $35 million increase in receipts this year, which now total $226.4 million. That total does not include tax revenue from sports wagering, which has generated $65.3 million worth of receipts through the first eight months of the year.
Counting cards in Joliet
The rise in table games revenue for October can largely be attributed to Harrah’s Joliet and Hollywood Joliet. Harrah’s more than doubled its revenue on the felt from September, with the $2.3 million trailing only the nearly $2.5 million claimed in March for a 2022 best. PENN Entertainment’s Hollywood Joliet venue — which will be relocated as part of a $185 million expansion that is planned to start next year — reported an increase of 49.1%, getting back into seven figures and just shy of $1.1 million.
Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin was also a table games revenue booster, improving 14.5% compared to September to nearly $2.8 million — the second-highest total in the state. While Rivers Casino again accounted for more than 60% of the state’s overall table games revenue with more than $18.5 million, the amount was a 1.6% decline from September.
Six of the 10 venues that offer table games — Hard Rock in Rockford does not — reported month-over-month gains, but no decline among the other four casinos was worse than the 3.3% reported by DraftKings at Casino Queen.
Despite month-over-month attendance being virtually flat, Harrah’s Joliet had the largest monthly increase in terms of percentage, surging 13.3% to nearly $11.6 million. Six of the 11 casinos finished with increases in revenue compared to September, all of them 5.4% or higher. Grand Victoria was the only venue besides Rivers to finish with at least $10 million in slots revenue — though by a mere $9,073 — as the $12.8 million overall represented a 5.4% increase.
Hard Rock narrowly missed its second month of $5 million revenue at its temporary facility, though there may have been a bump from the groundbreaking for its permanent venue in late September. The $4.9 million represented a 5.6% improvement from the previous month and narrowly missed being the second-best performance of 2022.
The Argosy Casino in Alton reported a 13.8% increase in slots revenue to nearly $2.6 million, fueling an overall increase of 7.6% to more than $2.9 million. Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria also had a strong slots bounce from September, up 9.2% to just shy of $4.3 million. Rivers had a small decline of slightly less than 1% to $27.9 million — its lowest total since $20.4 million in February.
Rivers’ overall total of $46.5 million is 6.7% off its high-water mark of $49.8 million in July, and October’s $180.09 revenue per admission is both a year low and 15.9% off the 2022 high of $214.21 in January. That early-year average, however, came with less than 55% of the 258,120 admissions reported in October.
Uptick in VGT revenue comes with more terminals
More than 200 new VGTs were activated across Illinois in October, lifting the statewide total to 44,311. Overall, the 8,134 locations with VGTs are 350 more than the start of the year, and there were 2,654 more VGTs in play in October compared to January.
The “funds in,” which is the monies entered into the VGTs, increased 3.5% to $907.4 million. It was the first time since May the total surpassed $900 million, which contributed to more than $2.7 billion in handle — the highest total since the close to $2.9 billion played in April.
The state reaped slightly more than $68 million in tax receipts for October, while the share for local municipalities totaled more than $11.7 million. State tax revenue from VGTs has now reached more than $663 million for the calendar year, and it is all but certain that with November’s figures the total will exceed the $717.7 million for all of 2021.