The Illinois Gaming Board has released its July riverboat casino revenue report showing Rivers Casino in Des Plaines raked in more than $17 million in its first two weeks of operation since opening July 18 to massive crowds.
The number of visitors to Rivers Casino, on 20 acres at the northwest corner of Des Plaines River Road and Devon Avenue, topped 270,000 during those two weeks in July -- higher than what the other nine casinos each reported for the entire month -- according to the gaming board report.
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Elgin's Grand Victoria Casino took in roughly $23 million with more than 172,000 visitors for July, while Hollywood Casino in Aurora made roughly $16 million and had about 141,000 visitors, per the report.
While the novelty of the $445 million Rivers Casino might have a lot to do with the high attendance numbers, its future looks promising to city officials who are banking on casino revenues to fund infrastructure projects.
"It just shows what a great location and what a first class operation it is," Des Plaines Mayor Marty Moylan Friday. "We're hopeful that they're going to be able to sustain a high number of clients and customers because of the location and the quality of the establishment."
City officials are optimistic that the Rivers Casino will generate $325 million to $400 million in its first year.
"They are on target with the projections that we've made," Moylan said.
Earlier this year, a bipartisan state commission released a more conservative estimate that Rivers Casino would take in an estimated $260 million in receipts its first year of operation despite a trend of declining gambling revenues statewide.
The casino is still pegged to be among the state's biggest, second only to the Elgin Grand Victoria, whose gross revenues in 2010 were $287 million.
By either estimate, Des Plaines' own share of casino revenue could be anywhere from $2 million to $4 million.
A Rivers Casino official could not be reached for comment late Friday.