The Illinois Gaming Board reported slight declines in casino and video gaming terminal (VGT) revenue for September, which marked the second straight month of lower totals reported at casinos.
The state’s 11 casinos combined to generate $113.8 million in revenue, finishing 3% below August’s total of $117.3 million. While nowhere near the 2022 low of $87.7 million in January, September’s figure was 7.4% lower than the year-best $122.9 million casino operators claimed in July.
Despite the dip, the state’s progressive tax rates on casino revenue helped provide a small boost to state coffers. Illinois received close to $30.4 million in tax receipts from casino gaming, nearly $1 million more than in August. The state also surpassed $1 billion in total table games and slots/electronic gaming device (EGD) revenue for the calendar year, with revenue running 16.2% higher compared to the first nine months of 2021.
Those figures do not include sports wagering in the Land of Lincoln, as September’s figures for that category have not been released. The IGB published August’s numbers on Tuesday, with the state collecting $7.2 million in tax revenue from that gaming discipline from $47.8 million in adjusted revenue.
VGT revenue, which peaked in March at $249.6 million, totaled $225.3 million for September. That was 0.7% lower than August’s total, with the spread between the two less than $1.8 million. The state received $65.3 million in taxes from VGT play for September, with another $11.3 million in tax receipts going to local municipalities.
A slide in EGD and slot revenue
July’s high-water mark for casino revenue in Illinois came mainly due to a surge in slots revenue, which was just shy of $94 million. September’s figure of $85.2 million is 9.4% off that mark, with the $105.87 average revenue per person for the discipline an annual low.
That fade was typified by the state’s bell-cow venue, Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. It generated $28.2 million in EGD/slots revenue, accounting for nearly one-third of the state’s revenue in that category, but the figure was 3.7% lower compared to August and 9.3% off July’s peak of $31.1 million. Rivers was also the only venue to reach eight figures in EGD/slots revenue.
Rivers had a softer landing in table games revenue, with its $18.8 million total 1.1% lower compared to August. Its market share of statewide table games revenue, however, ticked higher to 65.9% as the overall total of $28.6 million represented a 4.1% decline versus August. The slots/table games revenue percentage split was slightly more than 75/25, nearly identical to the previous month.
Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin and Harrah’s in Joliet were the only other venues to post at least $10 million in total casino revenue at $12.1 million and $10.2 million, respectively — far behind Rivers’ overall haul of $47.1 million. Hollywood Casino, which recently announced plans to relocate its Aurora and Joliet casinos, reported a combined $15.3 million from those two venues.
Hard Rock, which broke ground on its $310 million permanent casino in Rockford last month, saw a slight uptick in revenue from its slots-only temporary site with close to $4.7 million.
More VGTs operational, but fewer ‘funds in’
The amount of locations statewide offering VGT play again increased, with 8,107 venues licensed and 44,410 terminals operational for September compared to 7,784 locations and 41,657 VGTs in January’s report.
Despite the increase in volume, there was a small decrease in “funds in,” which is the amount of money people put into VGTs while playing. That amount for September was $876.9 million, a decline of 0.5% compared to August. That dip, though, pales in comparison to the 9.9% falloff from the year-to-date high of $973.3 million in March.
The VGT handle for September was $2.6 billion — 0.7% lower versus August, but 11.2% off March’s total of just below $3 billion. Like the state’s casino revenue, though, the year-over-year metrics for VGT are positive. Net Terminal Income (NTI) has surpassed $2 billion for the calendar year and is 10.1% higher compared to 2021.
The state has claimed $595 million in tax revenue from VGT play in the first nine months of the year — $63.3 million more than in the same span last year.