Illinois Flirts With Highest Sports Betting Handle Total In State History In September

Written By Joe Boozell on November 8, 2021

Illinois sportsbooks registered $596.5 million in September betting handle, an expected rebound month thanks to a busy sports calendar.

In August, Illinois posted a $400.4 million mark. Football returned in September, which is the primary explanation for the near $200 million handle rise.

It’s the second-highest total ever in the Land of Lincoln. In March, Illinoisans posted $633.6 million in handle.

Sportsbooks profited $44.6 million, resulting in a hold percentage of 7.5. The state brought in $6 million in tax revenue.

And if IL had online registration, it likely would have shattered the handle mark. It doesn’t, but in-person registration’s days are numbered. The Senate and House recently passed a bill that would bring back online registration on March 5, 2022, at the latest.

Right now, Illinois is consistently the No. 3 sports betting market in the country behind New Jersey and Nevada.

Mobile sports betting is set to begin in New York, and IL has plenty of ground to make up vs. New Jersey and Nevada. But all things considered, it’s hard to deny Illinois’ sports betting success.

September betting numbers by Illinois sportsbooks

Here is the breakdown of wagering handle by each sportsbook, according to the report from the Illinois Gaming Board:

LicenseeOnline BrandTotal HandleOnline HandleRetail HandleTotal RevenueState TaxLocal Tax
Casino QueenDraftKings$236,474,771$232,081,734$4,393,037$8,041,746$1,018,083$68,995
Fairmount ParkFanDuel$156,179,929$154,998,413$1,181,516$18,026,558$2,505,462$187,674
Rivers Des PlainesBetRivers$98,510,939$87,333,812$11,177,127$9,269,902$1,250,782$119,468
Hollywood AuroraBarstool$46,561,860$45,271,338$1,290,522$4,233,376$570,691$31,314
HawthornePointsBet$43,992,633$41,956,658$2,035,975$3,581,935$482,414$42,820
Grand VictoriaCaesars$9,417,493$8,256,939$1,160,554$595,393$60,638$1,585
ArgosyN/A$3,348,730$0$3,348,730$412,858$58,017$0
Hollywood JolietN/A$1,339,510$0$1,339,510$257,992$24,657$0
Par-A-DiceN/A$629,829$0$629,829$159,804$27,974$53
Total$596,455,694$569,898,894$26,556,800$44,579,564$5,998,718$451,909

While DraftKings in Illinois posted the highest handle figure once again, FanDuel Sportsbook cleaned up in revenue as usual, which is especially telling in September, because DraftKings added Same-Game Parlays in August.

FanDuel has long championed Same Game Parlays, and like most states, parlays drive most of the revenue for sportsbooks in IL. In September, Illinois sportsbooks profited 44.6 million; $24.7 million of that total came from parlays.

Football, for reference, generated $9.9 million in revenue for sportsbooks. And it attracted about $105 million more in handle.

Something else that stands out in examining these numbers is how few online sportsbooks there are in the Prairie State compared to other markets.

There are still a mere six mobile sportsbooks in Illinois. Most comparable markets are easily in double-digits. The small number can be attributed to in-person registration, as it’s extremely difficult to launch a sportsbook sans online sign-up capability.

Once remote registration is back in Illinois, expect to see that number grow quickly. It’s reasonable to think that by the end of 2022, the list of online sportsbooks could double.

That means more promotions and lines for consumers and more handle for the state. Which, in turn, means more tax revenue.

How far has the IL market come in a year?

We’ve now reached the point where we can compare sports betting numbers year-over-year. And in glancing at previous figures, it’s safe to say the market has exploded over the last year.

In September 2020, Illinois notched $305.2 million in handle. At that time, it shattered the previous record. A year later, IL almost doubled that clip.

And yet, only one new online sportsbook (Barstool) has launched since then.

Considering this — and that IL should have online registration by March 2022 — it’s hard not to let the imagination run wild when thinking about what these numbers could look like in 12 months.

Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski / 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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