Illinois July Gambling Revenues Down, Not as Bad as Expected

Casinos in Illinois had better than expectations first month after reopening, the Illinois Gaming Board monthly report shows. Despite being capped at 50% of their capacity, the 10 state’s casinos managed to rake in nearly three-quarters of what they achieved in July 2019.

Back in June, Governor J.B.Pritzker gave a former go-ahead for gambling establishments to resume operations effective July 1, putting an end to the three-month period of casino closure. In line with the governor, the Illinois Gaming Board issued guidelines for re-opening of casinos, to ensure compliance with public health and to minimize the risk of further spread of the virus infection.

July Revenues Not That Bad

During the full month of operations for the state casinos after the closure, gross gaming revenue is $82.62 million, compared to $115.75 million for July 2019, around 29% down year-on –year. In July 2020 the number of casino admissions is 483,234, 48% down from the same period in 2019, 931,285.

The best performer, Rivers Casino des Plains, posted just 18% less in July than it managed to generate last year, $30.3 million, compared to $37 million in last July. Rivers was closely followed percentage-wise by the two Harrah’s, in Joliet, which posted $11.8 million, down 18.8% from $14.5 million, and in Metropolis, where revenue came at $5.18 million, 23% down from $6.71 million in July 2019. The biggest loser was Rock Island casino in Jumers, which posted 55.5% drop in revenue year-on-year, $2.73 million, compared to $6.15 million for the same period last year.

There are still doubts lingering as to when casinos will manage to reach pre-closure levels, if ever, and some of them anticipate until the end of the year revenues of 50% their usual levels, according to Illinois Casino Gaming Association executive director Tom Swoik.

Casinos implemented a number of measures to ensure public health and safety, including face coverings, plexi-glass shields and enhanced cleaning and sanitization protocols and the executive director of the industry representative body in the state is convinced it showed up.

“Some people were hesitant on coming back, but now that they’ve seen how we’re taking care of things, more will keep coming back”

Tom Swoik, Executive Director, Illinois Casino Gaming Association

The thousands of slot machines installed inside bars, petrol stations and other establishments performed even better and managed to gobble 24% more than they did in July 2019. The 7,137 state establishments featuring 35,680 slot machines generated $166.1 million, compared to $133.4 million gamblers in the Prairie State lost in July last year. The total number of the slot machines since then is up by more than 3,000, less than 10% increase, compared to the more than double increase in revenue.

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