Illinois Sportsbooks End 2021 With Nearly $800 Million In December Wagers

Written By Staff on February 4, 2022
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Another strong month pushes Illinois’ handle to $7 billion for the year, third-highest in the U.S., according to PlayIllinois

(LAS VEGAS) — Illinois sportsbooks finished the year on a high note even as December’s nearly $40 million revenue on nearly $800 million in wagering fell short of setting fresh records. The third straight month with betting of $780 million or more was an apt conclusion to a year that positioned Illinois as the nation’s third-largest market for sports betting with nearly $7 billion in wagers, according to PlayIllinois, which tracks the state’s regulated online gaming and sports betting market.

“Sportsbooks have operated at a blistering pace over the last three months, and it certainly helps going forward that the Bulls are a hot ticket,” said Joe Boozell, lead analyst for “As relentless as the growth has been though, it’s important to remember that Illinois is far from a mature market. Many of the restraints on sportsbooks will go away early this year, which puts the industry in a great position.”

Illinois’ sportsbooks took in $789.6 million in online and retail wagers in December, up 60.6% from $491.7 million in December 2020 and the second-most in state history, according to official data released Friday. December’s wagers were an extension of a busy fall, which brought $779.8 million in November bets and a record $840.4 million in wagers in October, which had five full weekends of football betting. Betting volume over the 31 days in December averaged $25.5 million per day, down from $26.0 million per day in November.

Bettors fared much better in December than in November, though. Gross gaming revenue fell to a more typical $36.7 million in December, down 53.1% from the record $78.2 million in November. But December’s win was still up 29.3% from $28.4 million in December 2020. The end result in December was $33.7 million in taxable revenue, which yielded $5.4 million in state and local taxes.

The month was the final chapter in a year that brought explosive growth to sportsbooks, even as in-person registration requirements returned to the state. Illinois’ retail and online sportsbooks for all of 2021 produced:

  • $7.02 billion in online and retail wagers, up 273% from $1.9 billion in 2020. Only New Jersey ($10.9 billion) and Nevada ($7.1 billion) attracted more in wagers over the year.
  • $6.7 billion in online wagers alone, up from $1.8 billion in 2020. 
  • $534.1 million in gross revenue, up from $137.4 million in 2020.
  • $84.7 million in state and local taxes, up from $20.2 million in 2020.

“Even with regulatory restraints like in-person registration placed on Illinois sportsbooks, they still managed to nearly triple betting volume,” said Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the Network, which includes “With in-person registration and other regulations set to go away in March, Illinois will likely surpass both Nevada and New Jersey in the year ahead. The future of sports betting in the state is awfully bright.”

Despite the Chicago Bears’ struggles, football produced $265.7 million in wagers in December, up from $257.1 million in November. The Bulls’ success spurred basketball betting to $226.4 million, up slightly from $226.3 million in November. 

Online betting accounted for $752.9 million, or 95.3%, of all wagers in December. DraftKings/Casino Queen led the state with $295.0 million in combined online and retail handle, including $290.4 million in online wagers. The combined handle produced $7.5 million in gross revenue.

FanDuel was again second in the state with $232.2 million in online and retail wagers, which included $230.6 million in online wagering. The combined handle was up from $216.2  million in November, yielding a state-best $13.9 million in gross revenue. 

Regulators also recently approved BetMGM, which sets up the Illinois debut of a top-four operator — and just the seventh online sportsbook to the state. 

“The relative lack of competition among online sportsbooks has been a boon for DraftKings and FanDuel, but has held the overall maturity of the market back,” Boozell said. “Another well-known brand like BetMGM, combined with the regulation changes, should help the market take another leap ahead.”

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Contact: Zack Hall, Catena Media, 

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