Illinois casinos have reportedly seen a drastic revenue drop of 30% in 2020 compared to the last fiscal year.

The sudden plunge in revenue over the past eight months was defined and dominated by the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic-driven lockdown measures have particularly dented the state lawmaker’s attempts to expand the state’s gambling industry. Although Illinois is not alone with casinos losing money, the decline in the state has been happening at a faster rate than in other jurisdictions.

Illinois Delays Plans to Open New Casinos

Over the years, Illinois has become a gambling-friendly state, with ten casino establishments across the state today. Although online casinos are extremely popular here, they are not directly regulated by the state. Now state authorities want to expand the brick-and-mortar gaming industry.

In June 2019, the state approved a new capital plan, allowing for several new gambling venues to open in select cities. The residents were hoping to see plans to put into immediate action. Unfortunately, the expansion plan for the casino industry has proved more complicated than predicted. This is particularly true for the casino in Chicago, as the high tax rate has deterred major casino companies from operating this venue.

Though the casino industry in Illinois is running again, things remain far from normal.

Illinois Casinos Revenue, Further Breakdown

The year 2020 has been a tough year against all the optimism and projections by the experts who predicted a great future for the gambling industry.

According to new reports, Illinois lost out on $200 million in revenue this year due to COVID-19 shutdowns. In total, casinos in the state earned around 30% less than they did during the last fiscal year. Although it has been months since casino reopenings, revenue still remains low. Over the past year, Illinois casino revenue totaled just $943 million, representing a significant drop from $1.4 million drawn the previous year.

While reflecting on the reasons for this nosedive, general manager of Rivers Casino, Corey Wise, said, “No one could predict the pandemic and the impact it would have on the industry and the entire economy… Since reopening in July, our gaming revenues are down over the previous year, but we have implemented strict new protocols, including limiting the capacity of the casino.”

Indeed, it has been a ruthless year for the state’s casino. However, Illinois has a huge and thriving sports betting industry and revenue from these sports betting platforms has increased sharply lately.

Sports Betting Continues to Rise in Illinois

Luckily, Illinois has managed to compensate for the casino gambling revenue losses from its sports gambling operations. The state officially began accepting sports wagers in March 2020. Currently, online sports betting is allowed here and sports fans will soon enjoy sports betting in major sporting arenas too.

During August, sports bettors in the state wagered $140 million. Illinois sportsbooks managed to keep roughly $7.2 million of that amount, and the state drew $1.1 million from the activity. The state is projected to gain more in the coming months if the sports leagues continue their operations.

The NFL kicked off its 2020 season last month, triggering increased sports betting around the US. However, new reports suggest the league could be forced to be suspended or canceled. Nevertheless, with the ongoing trend, it appears that Illinois is drawing more from its sports betting industry than its casinos, suggesting the state leaders should focus more on this industry that has more potential for the state.

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