Casino Revenue in Illinois Dropped Significantly in 2020

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For years, lawmakers in Illinois have been working hard to expand the state’s gambling industry. Unfortunately, the state’s casinos have been struggling immensely this year. New reports show that casino revenue in Illinois has dropped significantly over the past eight months.

Illinois isn’t unique in that its casinos are losing money. Things do seem to have dropped particularly quickly here, though. Today, we’re going to take a look at how much money the gambling industry here has managed to generate thus far in 2020.

Let’s check out the numbers!

Illinois’ Plan to Open New Casinos is Still Delayed

There was a time when Illinois banned most forms of gambling. That’s not the case anymore. Today, there are 10 different casinos spread around the state, most of which are highly profitable. Online casinos are hugely popular here, yet none are directly regulated by the state.

Interestingly, state leaders now want to expand the land-based gaming industry.

In June of 2019, lawmakers here approved a new capital plan that allows for multiple new gambling venues to open in select cities. That includes a new casino-resort in Chicago. Hope was that these plans would be put into immediate effect.

Unfortunately, expanding the casino industry here has been much more difficult than initially predicted. That’s particularly true with the casino in Chicago. State leaders have set unusually high tax rates here and very few casino companies seem interested in operating this venue.

Several other cities around Illinois are still gearing up to welcome a new casino. At this point, however, no one can say when these properties will reopen. Some analysts feel it would be years before any new ones open here.

The casino industry in Illinois is now up and running again. Things remain far from normal, though. There are new reports out that show how much money Illinois’ casinos managed to bring in over the past fiscal year.

Here’s where things stand.

Breaking Down Casino Revenue in Illinois This Year

It was exciting to hear that Illinois planned to expand its gambling industry. Everyone wanted to see this state earn more money and the gambling industry is proving to be a great way to achieve that goal. Unfortunately, 2020 ended up being a much tougher year for the casino industry here than most predicted, though.

New reports are showing just how much revenue fell by. Due to the casino industry being shut down, Illinois lost out on an astounding $200 million in tax revenue this year. Overall, casinos here earned about 30% less than they did last fiscal year.

Despite the casinos being operational here for months, revenue remains low. Over the past 12 months, casino revenue in Illinois came out to just $943 million. That’s a major drop from the $1.4 billion earned the previous year.

Corey Wise, general manager of Rivers Casino, spoke about the most obvious cause for this drop in revenue to the media this week.

“No one could predict COVID-19 and the impact it would have on the gaming industry and the entire economy,” Wise said. “Since reopening in July, our gaming revenues are down over last year, but we have implemented stringent new protocols, including limiting the capacity of the casino.”

It’s been a tough year for the state’s casinos. Fortunately, Illinois now has a large and successful sports betting industry. To the surprise of many, revenue from these sports betting platforms has also been increasing lately.

Sports Betting Continues to Surge in Illinois

It may be a long time before casino earnings return to pre-pandemic levels. Illinois isn’t alone on that front. Just about every state around the country has seen its casino earnings drop considerably over the past year.

Fortunately, Illinois is managing to bring in some much-needed revenue from its sports gambling operations. This state officially began accepting sports bets back in March of this year. Online sports wagering is allowed here and soon, bets will be accepted inside major sporting arenas, as well.

Just this past August, sports bettors in Illinois wagered $140 million. The state’s sportsbooks managed to keep around $7.2 million of that money and $1.1 million went to the state. Most expect these numbers to surge as the year goes on.

The one primary concern is if any major sports leagues will be forced to shut down again. Late last month, the NFL finally kicked off its 2020 season. Based on new reports, however, it seems possible that the league could be forced to suspend, or even cancel the season.

Illinois’ state leaders may begin to focus more on the sports betting industry this year. Casino revenue in Illinois is still low and no one knows when things will return to normal. We’ll continue offering revenue updates over the next few months.

Are you surprised to hear how much casino revenue in this state dropped? When do you expect things to turn around? Let us know in the comments section below!

Kevin Oldroyd

A longtime sports and gambling enthusiast, Kevin looks to present up-to-date and reliable information for readers. If he’s not writing, he’s probably watching MMA or playing blackjack. ...

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