Rivers Tops Illinois Casinos Again In September

Written By Derek Helling on October 19, 2022
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When it comes to Illinois casinos, there’s the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines and then there’s everyone else. The days of Rivers reporting gross gaming revenue that’s almost four times as much as the next nearest casino in the state might be numbered, however.

Rivers benefits from being the closest casino to Illinois’ largest population center of Chicago. In just a few months, however, Chicagoans could have a shiny new option that would make the trip out to Des Plaines unnecessary.

Illinois casinos report their win for September 2022

Last month, all 11 brick-and-mortar casinos in Illinois combined to hold over $113.8 million of gamblers’ wagers on slots and table games. Rivers accounted for about 41.3% of that total with $47 million in gross receipts.

The next strongest performer in September 2022 was the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin. Gross revenue from slots and table games there for the month came to about $12.1 million. The only other Illinois casino to post gross revenue of at least $10 million in September 2022 was Harrah’s Casino & Hotel in Joliet.

Rivers’ dominance is nothing new in Illinois. Looking at the first nine months of 2022 altogether, Rivers has reported more win from slots and table games than the next five highest-earning casinos in the state combined.

Certainly, being the largest casino in Illinois (for now) helps. Rivers has at least 28,500 more square feet of gaming floor than any other casino in the state currently. Additionally, the revenue corresponds to its traffic. With admissions topping two million through the first nine months of 2022, Rivers is more than doubling the amount of traffic every other Illinois casino has seen so far this year.

All that could be compromised during the summer of 2023.

Enter Bally’s Chicago casino

Earlier this year, plans for the largest casino in Illinois moved forward when Chicago granted the Bally’s Corp. a license to operate a casino right on the Chicago river near the Loop. While the current plans don’t call for that casino to open until 2026, there are more immediate plans for gambling in Chicago.

Bally’s plans to open a temporary location in downtown Chicago’s Medinah Temple. According to Melody Mercado of Block Club Chicago, the company’s goal is to open that facility to the public by June of 2023 at the latest.

It’s unclear how much traffic, and thereby dollars, the temporary or permanent casino in Chicago will pull away from Rivers. Rivers does not provide information about how many of its guests come from Chicago proper to play.

Additionally, there’s no guarantee that such people would automatically make the switch when the option to hit up Bally’s instead becomes available. Many gamblers are creatures of habit and despite gambling forms like slots representing pure games of chance, are rather superstitious. Some gamblers that currently take the Blue Line out to Rivers could continue to do so.

At the very least, Rivers could have a new competitor to deal with as soon as summer 2023. After the temporary downtown Chicago casino has been open for a few months, Rivers will have a better idea of how that competition will affect its business.

Photo by PlayUSA
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

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