Illinois Sports Betting ‘Off To A Good Start’ With $435 Million In Handle

Written By Joe Boozell on December 17, 2020 - Last Updated on March 2, 2021

Illinois continued its exceptional sports betting start in October, recording $434.6 million in handle.

As expected, that was an all-time high, way up from $305.2 million in September. Illinois Gaming Board administrator Marcus Fruchter said during Thursday’s meeting that Illinois sports betting is “off to a good start.”

Illinois has firmly entrenched itself as the No. 4 sports betting state in America, and it’s charging toward Pennsylvania for the No. 3 spot. It only trailed New Jersey, Nevada and Pennsylvania in October and is easily the least mature of those markets.

There were no new online sportsbook launches in October. But this was the first time that all five Illinois mobile books — DraftKings, BetRiversFanDuel, PointsBet and William Hill — were live for an entire month with remote registration in place.

More will likely join the fray in 2021, including Barstool, Unibet and BetMGM sports in Illinois.

In the meantime, the Illinois online sports betting industry is aided by COVID-19, odd as that may sound.

Mobile registration wasn’t supposed to be the norm until late-2021, at the earliest. But because of the health risks involved with going to a casino, we’ve had online registration in Illinois since late August.

That’s a win for the consumer and for the sportsbooks.

DraftKings usurps BetRivers for the No. 1 spot

Let’s take a look at how each Illinois sportsbook performed in October.

Remember, although Illinois casinos are closed now, they were still open in October. So retail handle is included in the numbers below.

DraftKings$141.4 million
BetRivers$115.5 million
FanDuel$105.6 million
PointsBet$60.8 million
William Hill $5.6 million
Argosy Casino Alton (retail only)$3.1 million
Hollywood Casino Joliet (retail only)$1.4 million
Hollywood Casino Aurora (retail only)$1.2 million

DraftKings has certainly come a long way since launching in Illinois in August.

It has quickly made up ground on BetRivers, which enjoyed an 84% market share that month. While BetRivers is still going to a player in Illinois for a long time, DraftKings has now claimed the top spot.

Its Chicago Cubs partnership, likely manifesting in 2022, should also provide a future boost.

PointsBet and William Hill are still miles away from the top three, but the former made significant strides in its first full month online. FanDuel continues to hold steady at the No. 3 spot, and is gaining ground on BetRivers.

October was a strong month on the sports calendar, which coincides with sports betting handle.

In addition to the NFL, Big Ten football also kicked off, and Illinois is in the heart of Big Ten country (even though you can’t bet on Illinois colleges in the Land of Lincoln).

The NBA Finals also took place in October, another 2020 outlier. And, as usual, the MLB playoffs were in October. There was no shortage of action for the Illinois sports bettor.

In total, sportsbooks profited $42.2 million. Sports betting generated $6.4 million in tax revenue for Illinois and $477,000 for Cook County.

About $355 million of the handle was bet on professional sports, with the rest coming on college sports.

How Illinois compares to other states

As previously mentioned, the Illinois sports betting industry is booming. And we’re still early in the process.

Here were the top states in terms of handle in October:

  1. New Jersey ($803.1 million)
  2. Nevada ($660 million)
  3. Pennsylvania ($525.8 million)
  4. Illinois ($434.6 million)
  5. Indiana ($230.9 million)
  6. Colorado ($210.7 million)

Illinois and Pennsylvania are nearly identical in terms of population, and the former continues to gain ground on the latter. Sports betting in PA has been around for about two years, as opposed to a few months in IL.

Expect this monthly handle number to keep growing and growing.

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Joe Boozell

Joe Boozell has also been a college sports writer for since 2015. His work has also appeared in Bleacher Report, and Growing up, Boozell squared off against both Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky in the Chicagoland basketball scene ... you can imagine how that went.

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