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NFL, College Football, March Madness Help Illinois Top $10B Lifetime Handle

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated October 14, 2022
11 min read
Illinois Top Lifetime Handle
  • Since Sports Betting Became Legal in Illinois in 2020, Bettors Have Wagered $10B
  • Illinois is the Fourth U.S. State to Post a $10 Billion Lifetime Handle
  • Online Betting is Main Source of Illinois Wagers

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Illinois lawmakers legalized, regulated, and launched a sports betting market by June 2020, and ever since, resident gamblers have taken full advantage and as of the state’s last reported numbers at the end of February, they have topped $10 billion in total wagers placed there.

That $10 billion handle has had plenty of industry help, from free giveaways and promotional discounts to a marketing campaign that did a good job getting the word out, plus with the NFL, college football, and March Madness thrown in, Land of Lincoln bettors have truly stepped up.

In the first two months of 2022, Illinois gamblers helped generate a $1.5 billion handle, a clear indication that the Prairie State loves to bet on pro sports, and its not wonder given the number of teams Illinois has in the NFL (Bears), MLB (Cubs, White Sox), NBA (Bulls) and NHL (Blackhawks) among others.

Illinois is not the only state to top the $10 billion lifetime handle mark.

Illinois is the Fourth US State to Post a $10 Billion Lifetime Handle

Not to diminish Illinois’ recent accomplishment in terms of lifetime handle, but it is now the fourth state to post a $10 billion lifetime handle after New Jersey, Nevada and Pennsylvania already topped that impressive milestone, with more states most likely soon to come.

Over thirty states and counting have already taken advantage of their right to set up a sports betting market made possible once the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA in May 2018, and Illinois has proven to be one of the more successful cases as its market continues to grow.

The sportsbooks that have set up shop in Illinois posted their all-time record handle in January when gamblers there wagered an impressive $867.5 million in total wagers, of which the sportsbooks got to keep $59.3 million with their ‘wins’ against bettors during that month.

Out of that final January sportsbook revenue number, Illinois was able to pull $5.3 million in state and local taxes, a new money stream that can go towards helping residents in need as opposed to flowing out of the states to offshore sportsbooks the way it did prior to legalization.

What has helped Illinois is their move to make it easier for bettors to register.

Online Betting is Main Source of Illinois Wagers

For the first part of the Illinois legal sports gambling journey, bettors were required to register in person before they could wager, a factor that kept a lot of players from participating at first, a hiccup that was noticed almost immediately by industry leaders.

As of March 5, 2022, however, Illinois bettors can now register online after the Illinois General Assembly passed HB 3136 last October, a bill that essentially ended the in-person requirement originally stipulated by law.

Now mobile betting rules in Illinois, with online wagers making up the vast majority of bets placed there, with 96% of all wagers made in February having been placed using mobile sportsbooks, a trend that has also occurred in most of the other states where betting is legal.

For the next few months of sports betting, the MLB and the USFL will have a center stage as the NFL prepares itself for its next season start in September, and in Illinois even more bettors are registering online so expect that state’s sports gambling numbers to continue to grow.

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Mike Lukas

1204 Articles

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]

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