Illinois Sports Betting Handle Sharply Plummets In July, Following US Trend

Written By Joe Boozell on September 9, 2021
illinois sports betting july 2021

Illinois posted $369.1 million in July sports betting handle, according to the latest report from the Illinois Gaming Board. And while that was the No. 3 mark in the US for the month, it was the state’s lowest total since September 2020.

However, that’s consistent with other states, as New Jersey was the only legal sports betting market to top $500 million in July. April through July are typically the slowest months for sports betting in the US, and July is the worst due to the lack of sporting events.

Illinois sportsbooks profited $37.3 million in July in revenue, down from $48.2 million from June. That was good for a hold percentage of 10.1%.

The state added $5.6 million in tax revenue.

Baseball was the most popular sport for Illinoisans to wager on at $124 million in handle. As expected, the White Sox pennant chase keeps at least one side of town engaged. The same cannot be said for the Chicago Cubs, who struggled mightily in July.

The NBA Finals took place in July, but there wasn’t enough volume for make much of a difference in handle. We also had the start of Olympic betting for the month, but Illinois does not specify Olympic bets in its splits. Based on the overall numbers, however, it’s likely safe to say that the summer games didn’t have much of an impact.

July betting handle, by Illinois sportsbook

DraftKings in Illinois held on to the handle lead, but FanDuel, once again, claimed the top spot in revenue.

Here are the full handle numbers:

LicenseeOnline BrandTotal HandleOnline HandleRetail HandleTotal RevenueState TaxLocal Tax
Casino QueenDraftKings$122,657,324$120,518,230$2,139,094$9,510,207$1,434,166$81,648
Fairmount ParkFanDuel$118,542,230$117,951,298$590,932$15,517,722$2,354,387$177,077
Rivers Des PlainesBetRivers$68,020,111$58,740,119$9,279,992$6,135,581$991,395$91,052
Hollywood AuroraBarstool$23,542,573$22,682,839$859,734$2,182,632$338,904$26,236
Grand VictoriaWilliam Hill$5,253,200$4,561,615$691,585$853,946$17,397$2,519
Hollywood JolietN/A$638,683$0$638,683$107,897$14,193$0

FanDuel in Illinois has benefitted extensively from parlay betting, as parlays are typically revenue drivers for sportsbooks.

In August, DraftKings added same-game parlays to its menu, but we won’t know for another month if it helps bridge the revenue gap.

Illinois hasn’t had an online sportsbook launch since Barstool going live in March, so not much is changing from month to month. The general tiers are set in stone until online registration returns.

When will online registration in Illinois return?

Going into football betting season, Illinois still has in-person sports betting registration. Football season is when sportsbooks acquire most of their customers typically, and Illinois will be missing out on handle as a result.

Unless, of course, there is a policy change.

Illinois recently reinstated an indoor mask mandate, which applies to retail sportsbooks. While not likely, it’s at least possible that Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker opts to bring back mobile registration until the end of the year.

Because 2022 was when online registration was supposed to begin anyway officially. With only a few more months left in 2021 and the delta variant spreading, it would seem logical to bring back mobile sign-ups.

If Pritzker doesn’t take action, Illinois will have in-person registration indefinitely. There is serious doubt that anyone will bid on the $20 million mobile-only license that would trigger online sportsbook registration in Illinois. If that’s the case, a legislative fix will be needed, and Illinois isn’t exactly known for its speed in solving issues like these.

Beginning in August — and especially in September — sports betting handle will rise in Illinois.

But by how much? The Land of Lincoln is seriously stifling its potentially robust market with the in-person registration mandate.

Photo by Nam Y. Huh / AP
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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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