LAS VEGAS, Dec. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Illinois sportsbooks reached a new monthly record for wagering and revenue for the first time since the reinstatement of in-person registration. With more than $840 million in wagers, Illinois joined the top 18 legal sports betting markets in the U.S. that — using five weekends of football, the opening of the NBA season, and baseball’s postseason — set a market wagering record in October, according to PlayIllinois.
"A calendar with an extra weekend of NFL and college football, the opening of the NBA and NHL seasons, and baseball’s postseason was always going to bring more action than a quieter month," said Eric Ramsey, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayIllinois.com. "Regardless, a new high highlights the continued strength of Illinois’ market, and it should grow even stronger in the coming months."
Retail and online sportsbooks combined to handle $840.4 million in wagers in October, shattering the record of $633.6 million set in March, according to official data released Tuesday. Wagers were up 40.9% from $596.5 million in September and up 93.4% from $434.6 million in October 2020.
Gross revenue rose 2.9% to $48.3 million in October from $47.0 million in October 2020 and up 8.4% from $44.6 million in September. October’s revenue still fell short of the record $49.9 million in gross revenue set in March. Taxable revenue did reach a record, though, to $52.6 million in adjusted gross revenue, yielding $8.5 million in state and local taxes.
Illinois’ sportsbooks had not recorded a record month since the return of in-person online registration in April. Illinois ranked No. 3 in March among all U.S. markets with $633.6 million in wagers, behind only New Jersey ($859.6 million) and Nevada ($640.8 million). Illinois still ranked No. 3 in October, but has lost ground to New Jersey ($1.3 billion) and Nevada ($1.1 billion) — the first two states to surpass $1 billion in wagers in a month.
But with HB 3136 awaiting signature, which would do away with in-person registration early next year, perhaps a $1 billion month could soon come to Illinois.
"The Illinois sports betting market is thriving in spite of the current online registration rules, so it’s exciting to imagine what it will look like when sportsbooks are untethered," said Joe Boozell, lead analyst for PlayIllinois.com. "A surge of new operators will certainly come. And there are an untold number of Illinoisans sitting on the sidelines interested in making a bet through an online sportsbook, but not enough to make a trip to a retail sportsbook to register."
October’s growth was a direct result of the month’s busy sports calendar. Five weekends of football attracted $330.1 million in wagers on the sport. The opening of the NBA season, including a hot start by the Chicago Bulls, drove $93.3 million in action on basketball.
"The Bears’ struggles are dampening bettor enthusiasm somewhat, but NFL wagering isn’t dictated as much by the success of local teams as other sports," Ramsey said. "The early success of the Bulls, however, and the short playoff run by the White Sox, were a definite help."
Online betting accounted for $803.4 million of the wagers in October, or 95.6% of the state’s total handle. DraftKings/Casino Queen led the state with $315.3 million in combined online and retail handle, including $308.8 million in online wagers. The combined handle was up from $236.5 million in September and produced $11.7 million in gross revenue.
FanDuel was next with $236.7 million in online and retail wagers, including $235.4 million in online wagering. The combined handle was up from $156.2 million in September and created a market-best $22.3 million in gross revenue.
"With only six in the state, Illinois is home to far fewer online sportsbook operators than any other major U.S. market," Boozell said. "By next year, the number of online operators should grow well into the double-digits. An increase in competition would be hugely beneficial for bettors."
For more, visit PlayIllinois.com/news.
About the PlayUSA Network:
The PlayUSA.com Network and its state-focused branches is a leading source for news, analysis, and research related to the market for regulated online gaming in the U.S.
Zack Hall, Catena Media, 775-338-0745,