Illinois Sports Betting Handle Dips In May, But Still A Comfortable No. 2 In US

Posted By Joe Boozell on July 6, 2021

Illinois sports betting handle declined once again in May, as the state recorded $507.3 million in wagers for the month.

That’s down about $30 million from April’s report. And while the decrease is consistent with some states, handle was ever-so-slightly up across the US in May. Perhaps Illinois is feeling the effects of in-person sports betting registration.

Still, Illinois was one of only two states to post at least $500 million in May sports betting handle. Therefore, the Land of Lincoln finished second to only New Jersey for the second straight month.

Nevada had the third-highest handle at $477.6 million. So, Illinois has about a $30 million cushion in second place.

Like Illinois, Nevada has in-person registration. However, its retail sportsbooks are much better suited for an in-person sign-up environment based on their location.

Illinois sports betting generated $36.6 million in revenue for operators. The state added $5.43 million in tax revenue.

And despite the slow sports betting season, one sportsbook easily recorded its most profitable month.

Illinois May handle, revenue by sportsbook

Here’s how each Illinois sportsbook performed in May by handle and revenue:

LicenseeOnline BrandTotal HandleOnline HandleRetail HandleTotal RevenueState TaxLocal Tax
Casino QueenDraftKings$170,109,570$166,227,839$3,881,731$7,210,758$1,065,214$71,669
Fairmount ParkFanDuel$156,267,145$155,574,427$692,718$20,168,670$2,888,467$239,888
RiversBetRivers$89,002,282$76,722,864$12,279,418$5,240,504$778,553$66,934
Hollywood AuroraBarstool$39,649,164$38,201,803$1,447,361$1,472,823$251,825$16,320
HawthornePointsBet$38,967,969$37,401,188$1,566,781$2,321,923$365,593$24,271
Grand VictoriaWilliam Hill$9,114,351$8,374,915$739,436-$128,245$9,366$588
ArgosyN/A$2,672,277$0$2,672,277$338,081$52,094$0
Hollywood JolietN/A$1,169,653$0$1,169,653$167,282$23,080$0
Par-A-DiceN/A$327,350$0$327,350-$236,850$458$0
Total$507,279,761$482,503,036$24,776,725$36,554,946$5,434,650$419,670

FanDuel wrestled away the Illinois handle lead from DraftKings in April for the first time. However, DraftKings in Illinois reclaimed the top spot in May.

With that said, FanDuel in Illinois still profited the most of any state operator in April … by a lot. So it’s likely not sweating over missing out on the handle lead. FanDuel consistently leads all Illinois sportsbooks in revenue, but it posted its best month in what’s typically considered the sports betting offseason.

Also interesting in these numbers: In April, it looked like Barstool had cemented itself as the No. 4 sportsbook in Illinois. It posted about $10 million more in handle than PointsBet for the month.

PointsBet’s handle declined by about 5.6% in May. Barstool’s, on the other hand, dipped by 23%.

Obviously, the timing of in-person registration hurt Barstool more than any other operator. That’s because it only had about three weeks to register users remotely, while other online sportsbooks had several months.

However, the May numbers show that interest in Barstool dwindled in May. Perhaps it’s a case of the new shine wearing off or that its users continued to lose bet after bet at launch.

Can Illinois sports betting hang on to the No. 2 spot in the US?

As previously mentioned, Illinois recorded about $30 million more in handle than Nevada in May. Because of that lead and Illinoisans’ dedication to baseball betting, Illinois should be able to remain  second throughout the summer.

Baseball was the second-most popular sport to bet on in IL after basketball in May. Illinoisans bet $126.1 million on America’s Pastime. The Cubs and White Sox were both excellent in May, and perhaps Chicago baseball betting helped drive handle.

But come fall, Illinois should start to slip down the rankings of states if it still has in-person registration. Football season is when sportsbooks gain a significant chunk of their customers, and Illinois will be missing out on registering users online.

That should allow states such as Nevada and Pennsylvania to leapfrog Illinois.

If online registration returns in 2022, which is the hope, IL should see more growth. In the meantime, expect the Illinois sports betting market to remain stagnant.

Photo by Charles Rex Arbogast / 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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