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Illinois Casinos Achieve Record Growth in May 2024

Explore the thriving performance of Illinois casinos in May 2024, revealing record-breaking revenue and strategic insights into future economic potential, including the prospect of online casino legalization.
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Branimir Ivanov | Senior News Contributor

Updated: Jun 12, 2024

The Economic Surge

Illinois' casino industry is celebrating a strong start to the summer of 2024, with May proving to be a standout month for the state's 15 land-based casinos. According to recent reports, adjusted gross revenue (AGR) surged by $7.2 million from April to May, reaching an impressive total of $143.8 million. This 5.3% month-on-month increase marks a significant uptick in activity, reflecting a robust recovery from earlier challenges.

The success story extends beyond just monthly gains. Year-over-year comparisons reveal an even more impressive growth trajectory, with AGR skyrocketing by $21.8 million, equating to a substantial 17.8% increase from May 2023. This surge underscores the resilience and expansion of Illinois' gaming sector, positioning it as a pivotal player in the state's economic revival.

Among the standout performers, Bally’s Chicago emerges as a beacon of success. The casino recorded its highest-ever monthly revenue at $11.73 million in May 2024, continuing its upward trajectory since opening its doors in September 2023. Hollywood Casino Joliet and DraftKings at Casino Queen also demonstrated noteworthy growth, each posting a remarkable 15.36% increase in monthly revenue.

 

Driving Forces Behind Growth

The buoyant performance can be attributed to several key factors:

  • Legislative Changes: Recent adjustments in online sports betting taxes, designed to bolster state revenues, indirectly supported casino growth. The shift to graduated tax rates incentivizes diversification into additional revenue streams such as online casinos.
  • Market Expansion: The success of Bally’s Chicago highlights the positive reception and demand for new casino establishments within the state. Regulatory support and continued expansion efforts contribute significantly to the sector’s overall growth.

 

Potential for Online Casinos

Looking ahead, the legalization of online casinos looms large on the legislative horizon. Projections suggest that such a move could inject an estimated $200 million annually into the state’s economy, with a conservative tax rate potentially yielding around $50 million per month. This initiative not only diversifies revenue streams but also mitigates potential future budget shortfalls without overburdening sportsbook operators.

 

“May 2024 marked a pivotal moment for Illinois casinos, showcasing robust growth and resilience in the face of economic challenges.”

 

Illinois' casino industry's recent performance underscores its pivotal role in the state’s economic landscape. Beyond mere revenue generation, casinos contribute to job creation, tourism, and community development. As policymakers navigate future budget challenges, the potential legalization of online casinos presents a balanced opportunity to sustain growth while enhancing fiscal stability.

In summary, Illinois’ casino sector is not just rebounding—it's thriving. With strong year-over-year growth, record-breaking performances, and strategic legislative initiatives, the industry is poised for continued success in the months and years to come. As stakeholders look to capitalize on this momentum, the focus remains on responsible growth, regulatory agility, and maximizing economic benefits for all Illinois residents.

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