Illinois Sportsbooks Set New High in January with Nearly $870 Million in Wagers

LAS VEGAS, March 10, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Illinois sportsbooks kicked 2022 off with a surge of betting, raising the monthly handle in January to nearly $870 million for the first time. With an extended NFL regular season and expanded playoffs played over five weekends, plus increasing action on basketball, the sports calendar was favorable in January. It’s a momentum-building start to a year that should bring a significant leap forward with the removal of in-person registration requirements lifted earlier this month, according to PlayIllinois, which tracks the state’s regulated online gaming and sports betting market.

"The momentum of the last four months will serve sportsbooks well as the removal of the in-person registration requirement on March 5 moved Illinois sports betting into a new era," said Joe Boozell, lead analyst for "Sports betting has continued to gain popularity in the state, and with the reins lifted, Illinois could very well grow into the second-largest market in the U.S. this year."

Illinois’ sportsbooks generated $867.5 million in online and retail wagers in January, breaking the record $840.4 million in wagers accepted in October, according to official data released Thursday. January’s handle was up 9.9% from $789.6 million in December and up 49.2% over the $581.6 million generated in January 2021. Betting volume grew to $28.0 million per day over the 31 days in January from $25.5 million in December and $18.8 million per day in January 2021.

Sportsbooks won $59.3 million in gross revenue from January’s bets, up 61.2% from $36.7 million in December and up 20.2% from $49.4 million in January 2021. With $66.2 million in taxable revenue, $10.7 million in tax revenue was injected into state and local coffers.

Legal jurisdictions across the country set wagering records in January, including all of Illinois’ neighbors with sports betting — Indiana, Iowa, and Michigan. A major reason was an additional week of regular-season NFL football and an expanded playoff format squeezed into five January weekends, in addition to college football’s national championship game.

In Illinois, football betting produced $224.1 million in wagers in January, down from $265.7 million in December. And with more than $60 million in Super Bowl-related wagers, announced last month by the state, football has drawn an enormous amount of bettors’ attention so far this year. But the NBA does significant heavy lifting, too. Basketball betting reached $276.2 million in January, up from $226.4 million in December.

"The NFL did sportsbooks a massive favor by expanding its regular season and playoff schedule," said Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the Network, which includes "The fact that those additional games were all squeezed into one month helped produce some eye-popping numbers in Illinois and beyond."

Online betting accounted for $829.1 million, or 95.6%, of all wagers in January. DraftKings topped operators in the state with $293.2 million in combined online and retail handle, including $283.7 million in online wagers. That handle produced $17.2 million in gross revenue.

FanDuel was second with $261.2 million in online and retail wagers, including $259.1 million in online wagering. That yielded a state-high $23.0 million in gross revenue.

A new era should bring even bigger numbers. With the NCAA Tournament and removal of in-person registration rules, PlayIllinois projects that March could see close to $1 billion in wagers. One new operator, BetMGM, launched over the weekend. And Illinois should see more sportsbook launches in 2022.

"The first two years of sports betting in Illinois have been a rocky road, making it one of the more unusual markets in the U.S.," Boozell said. "Despite that, the top sportsbooks have thrived. Ideally, the changes will help expand the market and foster a more competitive and healthy market."

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Zack Hall, Catena Media, 775-338-0745,