Illinois Posts Another Record-Setting Sports Betting Handle In November

Posted on January 27, 2021 - Last Updated on March 2, 2021

Illinois posted another record-setting sports betting handle of approximately $449.2 million in November 2020, holding firm at the No. 4 spot in the US for the month.

The Prairie State only trailed New Jersey, Nevada and Pennsylvania for the month.

IL sportsbooks profited about $41 million in November, close to the $42.4 million figure they profited in October.

Sports betting generated about $6 million in tax revenue for the state.

DraftKings led the way in individual handle once again, taking in $166 million of bets for the month.

BetRivers held firm at the No. 2 spot in handle. FanDuel, PointsBet and William Hill rounded out the top five.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker shut down all 10 of the state’s casinos in mid-November, hence the smaller retail figures than normal.

However, online sports betting continues to thrive, thanks in large part to Pritzker suspending the in-person registration requirement.

Professional sporting events made up 75% of the handle, while college sporting events made up 25%.

A new bill that would repeal the ban of wagering on in-state schools could add to the latter mark in the future.

December figures to be a banner month, as college basketball was in-play for all 31 days while the NBA returned on Dec. 22.

As successful as sports betting has been in Illinois to date, it feels like we’re just getting started.

November revenue, per sportsbook

Here were the revenue numbers by sportsbook in November:

SportsbookHandle
DraftKings$166 million
BetRivers$133.2 million
FanDuel$133.5 million
PointsBet$26.2 milion
William Hill $6.2 million
Argosy Casino Alton (retail only)$2.4 million
Hollywood Casino Joliet (retail only)$936,575
Hollywood Casino Aurora (retail only)$780,295

The biggest takeaway here? A surprising fall from PointsBet, which posted $60.7 million in October handle.

DraftKings, BetRivers and FanDuel all outperformed their October numbers. Right now, there is a clear top three in the IL market.

When is Barstool coming to Illinois?

We expect to see that list grow in the coming months.

PlayIllinois has learned that Barstool aims to launch in Illinois in time for March Madness, while Unibet and BetMGM Illinois are pending applicants. It is to be determined if any new sportsbooks will launch in time for the Super Bowl betting.

Once the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) gives the latter two the go-ahead, they can launch.

As of now, there are no other imminent launches in Illinois. But also keep an eye on Bally’s, which figures to offer sports betting at some point through Jumer’s Casino & Hotel.

Despite Illinois’ success, the sportsbook market isn’t crowded yet.

States such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Colorado all have well over five online options, which is Illinois’ current number.

Illinois sports betting handle: The charge to $1 billion

At this rate, it’s not crazy to start thinking about when Illinois could reach $1 billion in monthly sports betting handle.

New Jersey, the US leader, took in $931.6 million in bets in November, setting a record for the fourth straight month.

It’s only a matter of time before New Jersey hits $1 billion unless New York legalizes very quickly.

Online sports betting has been around in New Jersey since 2018, so it has a significant head start on Illinois. The first online sportsbook in IL launched in June when no major sports were happening.

It may take some time, but $1 billion is certainly in reach for the Prairie State. November was yet another positive data point.

Photo by Duane Burleson / AP
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Joe Boozell

Joe Boozell has also been a college sports writer for NCAA.com since 2015. His work has also appeared in Bleacher Report, FoxSports.com and NBA.com. 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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