Illinois Releases Lukewarm Sports Betting Handle In April But Manages To Become No. 2 In US

Posted By Joe Boozell on June 9, 2021 - Last Updated on June 11, 2021

Illinois recorded $537.2 million in sports betting handle in April, a figure nearly $100 million lower than what the Illinois Gaming Board reported in March.

The drop was expected, as most states with legal sports betting saw decreases in April. Without March Madness or football betting on the calendar, springtime is typically a slower sports wagering period.

Also, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker let online sportsbook registration expire in April, contributing to the underwhelming numbers. The total handle was always going to be lower in April than in March, but a lack of new customers only stifled the market further.

Sportsbooks in Illinois profited $42 million in April. The state added $6.54 million in tax revenue to its coffers.

Despite the down month, Illinois still finished ahead of Nevada and Pennsylvania for second place among all US states.

Questionable policy decisions aside, the Land of Lincoln is still a somewhat hot sports betting market.

Illinois April revenue numbers, by sportsbook

For the first time, FanDuel Illinois led state sportsbooks in handle, surpassing DraftKings.

Here’s the full breakdown of the report:

LicenseeOnline BrandTotal HandleOnline HandleRetail HandleTotal RevenueState TaxLocal Tax
Fairmount ParkFanDuel$177,496,601$176,922,094$574,507$15,494,422$2,372,601.15$196,528.02
Casino QueenDraftKings$169,574,888$165,385,155$4,189,733$11,956,629$1,831,920.30$119,829.54
RiversBetRivers$84,299,434$72,323,326$11,976,108$7,936,478$1,233,864.94$114,520.79
Hollywood AuroraBarstool$51,377,580$50,330,128$1,047,452$3,324,995$589,958.30 $37,134.36
HawthornePointsBet$41,250,036$40,052,041$1,197,995$2,745,584$433,371.98$54,132.55
Grand VictoriaWilliam Hill$8,829,695$8,233,187$596,508$190,745 $11,494.00$4,383.25
ArgosyN/A$3,098,881$0$3,098,881$206,412$28,615.44$0
Hollywood JolietN/A$976,800$0$976,800$163,817 $22,145.97$0
Par-A-DiceN/A$254,636$0$254,636$-49,777$16,916.84$571.46
Total$537,158,551$513,245,932$23,912,620$41,969,307$6,540,888.92 $527,099.97

Barstool overtook PointsBet for fourth place in handle. Barstool was fifth in March, but was only live for two-thirds of the month. So this was expected.

Still, as long as in-person registration around, that’s likely the ceiling for Barstool in the short term. There’s a considerable gap between Barstool and BetRivers for the No. 3 spot.

Speaking of BetRivers, it is the primary sportsbook that serves to benefit from in-person registration. That’s a function of Rivers Casino’s ideal Chicagoland location. And while it made up ground on DraftKings and FanDuel, it generated more handle and revenue in March than in April.

Of course, the sports climate is mostly to blame there. Still, while no online registration may improve BetRivers’ relative Illinois standing, that doesn’t necessarily mean its business will improve in a vacuum.

When could online registration return?

The May legislative period has come and gone, and lawmakers did not address the in-person registration requirement.

Therefore, it’s here to stay until at least 2022. Illinois will only return to online sign-ups once the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) hands out a mobile-only license.

That can’t happen until 2022, at the earliest. Applications will be available in December 2021.

The question then will become, will anyone bid on a mobile-only license?

They cost $20 million a pop, and industry giants such as DraftKings and FanDuel  are already major players in the market. The mobile-license provision was designed to entice those two.

There are, however, a few contenders to claim a mobile-only license.

Golden Nugget has curiously said that it plans to launch in Illinois in the fourth quarter of 2021. Its pathway into the market is unclear, unless it plans to bid on a mobile-only license.

Also curious is the fact that BetMGM and Unibet have been pending sports betting applicants for several months now. It’s possible that the IGB is dragging its feet, but it’s also possible that one or both of those two are holding out for a mobile-only license.

Unibet confirmed to PlayIllinois in April that Pritzker’s reversal affects its launch timeline plans in the state, while BetMGM declined to comment.

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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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