Just Getting Started Illinois Reports Impressive $434M October for Sports Wagering

Illinois Reports Impressive

  • October’s figures eclipse September and are expected to be broken again in November
  • Online wagering dominant due to pandemic & Gov. Pritzker’s sign-up extension order
  • Major sportsbook operators maintain competitive balance in Illinois while market grows

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Continuing momentum, Illinois sports betting is continuing its pattern with another huge jump in revenue. The state’s betting handle increased a whopping 42% to $434.6 million in October and will most likely exceed that once November’s figures are accounted for.

The October number was higher than September’s previous record. Revenue was up over six-fold from September to another record $42.2m, of which the state’s share coming to $6.3m.

Not surprisingly, retail onsite wagering accounted for less than $25 million of the October handle. That figure will likely be smaller in the November report as all Illinois casinos were forced into their second 2020 COVID-19 induced shutdown on November 19. Along with that news, all sports bettors were happy that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has extended the exemption for all bettors to register new accounts in-person at state retail casino locations at least through January 9, 2021.

With the documented current success of mobile online wagering in Illinois, it is quite likely that come to the next legislative session, an amendment to the law will be put in place that permanently allows remote sign-up for legal sports betting.

Breaking Down the Numbers

Online wagering was dominant in Illinois during October and is expected to remain that way for the upcoming months. The state accrued 90% of its handle online, captured by the capacity of casinos limited to 25% by Gov. Pritzker’s order and the onset of the colder weather.

All professional sports combined for $355.7 million, accounting for 81% of the handle. $78.2m from college sports and $250 from auto racing. Both NFL and NCAA college football combined for 44% of the wagering action. It is expected that December will benefit most from the return of the NBA along with a boost from the popular hometown Chicago Bulls. Also, NCAA college basketball contributing more revenue into the numbers as well.

Competitive Operators Share Lead

At this juncture, it does not appear that anyone sportsbook operator has a dominant share of the Illinois market nor may capture it soon.

Although US national power DraftKings Sportsbook and its local Casino Queen partner combined in handle for $141.1 million, not too far behind was reigning local force BetRivers attaching with Casino Des Plains $115.5 million. The duo of FanDuel and Boyd Gaming’s Par-A-Dice casino ranked close in third with $105.5 million.

By revenue, BetRivers achieved the highest total at $12.9 million, with DraftKings at $11.5 million. They were just ahead of FanDuel at $11.1 million and PointsBet behind the market leaders at $5.1 million.

Illinois October $434.6 million handle put them fourth place nationwide, to longer-tenured sports wagering states New Jersey ($803m), Nevada ($659m), and Pennsylvania ($526m).

Again, there is no fair sports wagering handle or revenue comparison among states due to the unique individual legislative laws involving both online and sports wagering dictated within all US states. Considering the mandated casino shut down in the state due to the pandemic, October’s figures in Illinois were quite substantial and impressive.

Other news has continued in Illinois indicating new casinos to be constructed within the state and within existing locations including Wrigley Field.

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Larry Gibbs

Expert on Sports Betting Industry

Larry Gibbs is both a seasoned journalist and a respected online gaming industry consultant. His wry commentary & sharp analysis have appeared in numerous top gaming and sports wagering publications. He has also served as Vice President of US Gaming Services, a marketing research organization with 15 years of experience in US online wagering. He has spoken at noted gaming industry conferences including G2E, GiGSE, and NCLGS.

Email: [email protected]