Illinois Nears $1 Billion In Monthly Sports Bets After Record-Breaking October

Written By Joe Boozell on December 8, 2021
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Illinois sportsbooks set a state record in betting handle in October, taking in $840.4 million in wagers. That is up from $596.5 million in total bets in September and $434.6 million in October 2020.

The previous record was $633.4 million, which happened in March 2021.

The number keeps Illinois in third place in the US in monthly sports betting handle, behind New Jersey and Nevada, which saw $1 billion in wagers. With the return of the NBA and NHL betting in October, sports betting numbers rose across the country.

The MLB Playoffs also took place in October.

Sportsbooks in Illinois profited $48.3 million, resulting in $7.9 million in tax revenue. The books held 5.7% of the total action.

And, of course, there is still no online sports betting registration in the Land of Lincoln. However, in-person registration days are numbered, as a bill ensures it ends by March 5, 2022. Currently, HB 3136 is sitting on Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk.

Let’s take a look at sports betting splits by book and paint a picture of what handle could look like in the coming months.

Illinois betting handle, by sportsbook, in October

Here are the full numbers by sportsbook:

LicenseeOnline BrandTotal HandleOnline HandleRetail HandleTotal RevenueState TaxLocal Tax
Casino QueenDraftKings$315,255,548$308,838,498$6,417,050$11,698,248$2,015,602$123,876
Fairmount ParkFanDuel$236,690,155$235,425,523$1,264,632$22,268,067$3,486,948$253,599
Rivers Des PlainesBetRivers$135,678,358$119,009,435$16,668,923$7,979,969$1,259,967$104,855
Hollywood AuroraBarstool$69,826,626$67,917,082$1,909,544$2,375,483$474,858$35,848
Grand VictoriaCaesars$13,999,307$12,685,905$1,313,402$593,941$93,242$0
Hollywood JolietN/A$1,800,349$0$1,800,349$120,418$14,690$0

Once again, DraftKings Sportsbook led the state in handle, but FanDuel in Illinois led in revenue — this has been the trend for several months now.

As expected, not much is changing in terms of the order for a few reasons. First, we haven’t had a new sportsbook launch since March, when Barstool went live in the state.

Second, with in-person registration, these sportsbooks aren’t adding customers anywhere close to the rate that they would be in a mobile sign-up environment. So, for now, the market is more or less static.

But that should change soon.

When online registration returns …

The Illinois sports betting market is thriving, but online registration will provide a welcoming jolt.

For starters, most comparable sports betting states have far more sportsbooks than Illinois, which has six. The in-person registration requirement has dissuaded various betting operators from launching here. However, by the end of 2022, we should have double-digit operators.

That will mean more promotions and line options for consumers and more handle for the state, which will increase tax revenue.

Secondly, we’ve had in-person registration in Illinois since April. There is likely a good chunk of Illinoisans who would like to sign up for a sports betting app but not badly enough to visit a retail sportsbook to do so.

HB 3136 times it up so that online registration will return in time to bet on March Madness, the most popular cumulative sports betting event in the US. As previously mentioned, March 2021 was a huge wagering month in the state.

Don’t be shocked if Illinois is flirting with $1 billion in handle that month, even if it falls a bit short.

Photo by AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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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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