Illinois recorded $305.2 million in September sports wagering handle, and it shot into fourth place in the US. Illinois is the fastest-growing sports betting market in the country.
The market is far from mature, but we’re learning more and more about it with each revenue report released. So far, here’s what we know about the Illinois sports betting market, and what we may see in the future.
A three-headed sportsbook monster
BetRivers, DraftKings and FanDuel sportsbooks accounted for about $289.7 million (95%) of the Land of Lincoln’s September handle.
A caveat: PointsBet launched on Sept. 12, and so did William Hill three days later. While neither operator was in business for the entire month, there is still a massive gulf between the third and fourth place position in Illinois.
Expect PointsBet and William Hill to post stronger October figures, especially the former considering its prioritization of the state. But both have plenty of ground to make up to crack the top three.
Déjà vu, anyone? Yes, we used similar language in discussing BetRivers’ domination in August. That’s when they carved out a massive 84% market share.
DraftKings and FanDuel each made up a lot of ground in September. Here are the full numbers:
|Licensee||Total Handle||Online Handle||Retail Handle||Total Revenue||Total Tax||Total Wagers||Online Wagers||Retail Wagers|
|BetRivers (Rivers Des Plaines)||$112,719,575.99||$98,599,684.17||$14,119,891.82||$5,958,377.13||$974,735.26||2,258,139||2,168,768||89,371|
|DraftKings (Casino Queen)||$98,316,259.14||$95,920,730.32||$2,395,528.82||$221,753.45||$33,263.02||3,846,526||3,806,717||39,809|
|PointsBet (Hawthorne Race Course)||$8,876,181.63||$8,853,933.08||$22,248.55||$165,913.18||$25,014.81||156,147||155,723||424|
|Unibet (Alton Casino)||$2,297,279.00||$-||$2,297,279.00||$160,515.69||$24,077.35||103,335||0||103,335|
|William Hill (Grand Victoria)||$2,216,865.95||$1,331,231.00||$885,634.95||$81,155.00||$12,268.36||17,200||10,304||6,896|
|Hollywood Casino Joliet||$1,141,443.71||$-||$1,141,443.71||$134,400.68||$20,160.10||29,098||0||29,098|
|Hollywood Casino Aurora||$1,088,023.08||$-||$1,088,023.08||$115,173.95||$17,276.09||25,075||0||25,075|
We should note that BetRivers easily posted the best revenue numbers in the state in September. That can likely be attributed to DraftKings and FanDuel’s aggressive customer acquisition strategy, frequently offering free bets and enhanced lines.
BetRivers, meanwhile, appears to have acquired most of its customers over the summer, when it was the only live operator in the state.
Based on BetRivers’ significant head start and DraftKings and FanDuel’s significant brand presence just about everywhere, all three will be forces in Illinois going forward.
It will be particularly fascinating to see if DraftKings can usurp BetRivers in October. For now, it’s going to take a lot for any new operator to jump into the top three.
Illinois, in context
Illinois is rapidly ascending in the US sports betting market. Here are the top five states in September by handle:
- New Jersey: $748.6 million
- Nevada: $575.1 million
- Pennsylvania: $462.8 million
- Illinois: $305.2 million
- Colorado: $207.7 million
Illinois is the youngest market on that list, and it could reach Pennsylvania levels once it matures. The two states have similar populations.
It took all of three months for Illinois to pass Colorado and Indiana, both of whom are considered successes in the sports betting world.
The strange thing? None of this would have happened if the market unfolded as lawmakers intended.
All this wouldn’t have been possible if Gov. JB Pritzker hadn’t suspended the in-person registration mandate several times, as he has. And based on the way COVID-19 is trending in Illinois, he likely won’t reverse his policy any time soon.
About 93% of the September handle came online, a number similar to August and July. It’s impossible to know for sure, but one would can wonder what numbers would look like if in-person registration were still in place.
Other Illinois revenue notes
- FanDuel did not report adjusted gross revenue in September. According to Illinois Gaming Board Administrator Marcus Fruchter, if that section of the report reads “zero,” it means the operator wasn’t profitable for the month. The debt will carry over into the next month.
- BetRivers may have led the state in handle, but more people placed wagers at DraftKings and FanDuel in September. That means BetRivers recorded a higher dollar amount per wager.
- BetRivers easily had the busiest retail sportsbook of the bunch, posting $14.1 million in handle. No other retail sportsbook took in more than $3 million, which makes sense given Rivers Casino‘s proximity to Chicago.
- Argosy Casino Alton recorded a higher handle than William Hill, despite not yet having an online sportsbook (though, it will eventually be Unibet).