The tough times for Illinois casinos showed no signs of ending in March, with revenue and admissions down sharply from the same period last year, according to new figures from the Illinois Gaming Commission.
It was the third straight month of nearly across-the-board losses since the statewide smoking ban took effect Jan. 1, and in many cases those losses deepened relative to the same period last year.
Just fewer than 1.35 million people visited Illinois’ nine casinos in March, down 9 percent from the same month in 2007. They spent $147.7 million, down from $184.3 million last year.
The slump continued at the two St. Louis-area casinos, the Casino Queen and the Argosy Casino-Alton.
The Queen, which opened major new renovations last summer but has been facing the smoking ban and new competition from Lumiere Place casino downtown, saw revenue off 8.9 percent from last year. Visits, however, were up 11.9 percent, which casino operators have taken as a sign that people are still coming but spending less time playing since they must leave the casino floor to smoke.
Up the river in Alton, revenue at the Argosy riverboat plummeted 28.8 percent, with visits down 18.2 percent.
The full Illinois report is available here. Similar figures for Missouri casinos are due out later this week.