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Illinois Casino Revenue Falls 10.3% In April As Lawmakers Ponder Online Casinos

Written By J.R. Duren | Updated:
Marquee Sign Reads Chicago At Night

The Spring Stumble is alive and well among Illinois casinos.

Following a national pattern of declining monthly gaming revenue, Illinois’ 15 casinos generated $136.6 million in revenue, down 10.3% compared to March’s total of over $152.3 million. The dip was expected, as gambling activity tends to spike in March because of the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournament.

April’s revenue created more than $31 million in state and local taxes, and that could see a significant boost if lawmakers legalize Illinois online casinos.

Key takeaways

  • Online casinos aren’t legal in Illinois but, if legalized, it could become one of the biggest markets in the country.
  • Bally’s Chicago weathered the March-to-April dip better than other top casinos
  • 14 of 15 casinos saw their revenue drop in April

What revenue impact could Illinois online casinos have?

Lawmakers have introduced a bill in the Illinois House to legalize online casinos. However, it’s unlikely that the bill will become law during this legislative session. The Illinois’ Internet Gaming Act bill would allow the state’s casinos to offer online casinos through up to three partners. The tax rate would be 15%.

There is another online casino bill in the Illinois Senate that has legs if it’s passed on to be considered in budget negotiations.

If Illinois online casinos became legal, the state could be one of the largest iGaming markets in the country. Based on March online casino revenue averages, the Prairie State’s revenue would be nearly identical to perennial front-runner Pennsylvania:

StateMarch online casino revenuePopulation (according to 2023 Census Bureau data)Per-capita revenue
Pennsylvania$233.1 million13 million$17.93
Michigan$215.2 million10 million$21.52
New Jersey$197.1 million9.3 million$21.19
Connecticut$44.3 million3.6 million$12.31
West Virginia$20.7 million1.8 million$11.50
Delaware$4.6 million1 million$4.6
Average$119.2 million6.5 million$18.34
Illinois$229.3 million12.5 million$18.34

At the proposed 15% tax rate, Illinois online casinos could, in a good month, generate more than $34 million in tax revenue.

Bally’s Chicago weathers the April revenue storm better than competitors

Fourteen of the state’s 15 casinos saw their revenue dip month-on-month, resulting in a 10.3% downturn in April.

Among the top casinos, Bally’s Chicago (NYSE: BALY) held up quite well, posting just under a 7% decline, while its top competitors (casinos that consistently earn $10 million a month) all posted losses of at least 8%:

CasinoApril 2024 RevenueMarch 2024 RevenueMonth-on-Month Change
Rivers Casino$42,242,786.01$47,785,900.85-11.60%
Grand Victoria Casino$12,411,165.62$13,491,860.86-8.01%
Harrah's Joliet Casino & Hotel$10,609,675.59$12,248,645.68-13.38%
Bally's Chicago$10,351,033.44$11,127,674.29-6.98%
The Temporary by American Place$9,476,093.53$9,726,924.77-2.58%
Hollywood Casino Aurora$8,104,656.81$8,424,318.82-3.79%
Hollywood Casino Joliet$7,656,411.13$8,741,734.14-12.42%
DraftKings at Casino Queen$6,583,058.09$7,780,542.50-15.39%
Hard Rock Casino Rockford$6,242,317.6$6,582,769.79-5.17%
Harrah's Metropolis Casino$5,481,347.91$5,325,120.632.93%
Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino$4,881,161.59$5,967,378.05-18.20%
Bally's Quad Cities Casino & Hotel$4,789,800.19$5,493,862.74-12.82%
Golden Nugget Danville$2,895,307.44$3,431,482.10-15.63%
Argosy Casino Alton$2,742,472.47$3,219,968.31-14.83%
Walkers Bluff Casino Resort$2,177,562.78$2,942,918.72-26.01%

Harrah’s Metropolis casino was the only property to post positive monthly gains. The casino’s revenue rose from $5.3 million in March to $5.5 million in April, a 2.9% increase.

Bally’s turmoil at the top puts Chicago casino’s future in flux

While Bally’s Chicago isn’t the state’s flagship casino—Rivers Casino in Des Plaines takes that honor—it is a significant player in the Illinois market because it’s Chicago’s only casino.

That said, the casino and its parent company have entered a season of uncertainty. New York-based hedge fund Standard General is attempting a takeover of Bally’s that would result in the company going private.

This past month, a prominent Bally’s shareholder pushed back on the acquisition, saying the deal undervalues the company’s worth—Standard General is hoping to buy shares at $15 each.

With all this acquisition movement, Bally’s Chicago’s future is more uncertain than at the beginning of the year. The casino’s current location is temporary; Bally’s is building a permanent casino worth $1.34 billion. As PlayUSA’s Derek Helling pointed out, Bally’s has more than a billion dollars of funding commitment remaining.

To make up for that gap, the company is looking for around $800 million in financing.

Photo by MisterStock / Shutterstock
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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