Rivers, Grand Victoria casinos' revenues level off

Elgin's Grand Victoria Casino stanched its revenue declines in 2015, while Rivers Casino in Des Plaines ended its growth spurt.

Both saw revenue level off, statistics from the Illinois Gaming Board show.

That was good news for the Grand Victoria, which has posted declines every year since 2008. The casino brought in $171.5 million in 2015, roughly the same as in 2014.

After increases every year since it opened in 2011, Rivers Casino in Des Plaines brought in $425 million in 2015, also about the same as the year before.

Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Gaming Association that represents Rivers, said the rising number of video gambling machines in bars and restaurants have competed with the Des Plaines casino.

Jim Thomason, general manager at the Grand Victoria, attributes the stabilizing of revenue at his casino to new slot machines, a recent remodel of the casino's interior and the success of its summer concert series.

The Hollywood Casino in Aurora brought in $121.2 million in 2015, compared to $126.9 million in 2014. The Hollywood Casino in Joliet saw its revenue increase slightly, from $122.6 million in 2014 to $125 million in 2015.

Rivers Casino remains the state's largest revenue generator by a large margin, taking in more than double the money of Illinois next-biggest, Harrah's in Joliet. Harrah's saw $186 million in receipts in 2015, down from $199 million the year before.

As the state's financial troubles continue, its tax take from riverboats dropped last year by $10.6 million to $403 million.

The annual numbers can give an indication of the direction of Illinois' gambling industry and often come up when lawmakers talk about adding new casinos.

State Sen. Terry Link, a Vernon Hills Democrat, has advocated for casino expansion. He introduced legislation last session for several new casinos across the state and as many as 1,200 slot machines at Arlington Park.

However, he says the expansion will have to wait for the lawmakers to agree on a state spending plan.

“(Casino expansion) has taken a back seat to the budget,” Link said. “If we ever do get a budget done, that would one of the main things that would be brought through right away.”

Swoik says Rivers Casino's numbers signal the gambling market is saturated.

“There's just not going to be that much more new revenue, it's just basically redistributing what there is now. I think that's what you're seeing with Rivers,” he said.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.