Illinois Sports Betting Hits $2 Billion Milestone Amid Typical July Slowdown

Written By Darren Cooper on September 18, 2023 - Last Updated on October 16, 2023
Picture of $2 billion bill, as Illinois becomes the fourth state to pass $2 billion lifetime in handle

Welcome to the Billionaires Club, Illinois.

That’s billions plural.

Based on numbers released last week by the Illinois Gaming Board on sports betting activity in July, Illinois became the third US state to cross over $2 billion in adjusted gross revenue, joining New York and New Jersey in the exclusive club.

Overall, the month of July was small by comparison, largely due to a lack of professional sports events during that period. This is typical. Illinois reported just $60.4 million in adjusted gross revenue for the month and $608.9 million in total handle.

What was the big bet for July?

Players in Illinois currently have seven online sportsbooks to choose from. That could change soon. Illinois sports betting is expected to hit double-digit operators this year, with Circa Sportsbook on pace to launch later this month.

The gaming board’s latest report breaks down the numbers by in-person and online wagers, with online again capturing the majority. It also breaks things down by operator, by sport and by tier (Tier 1 bets are moneyline bets, Tier 2 are basically everything else).

The Casino Queen (DraftKings Illinois) led the way with $232.3 million in total sports betting handle for July, followed by Fairmount Park (FanDuel Illinois) at $201.2 million.

Tier 1 betting accounted for $252 million wagered and Tier 2 for $341 million.

The sport pulling in the most bets from Illinois in the month of July was baseball with $200 million ($192.3 million of that was online).

Parlay betting remains a big draw for Illinois bettors, despite the losing odds. Parlays accounted for $150.7 million in handle for sports bettors. In-person parlay betting topped baseball betting by a small margin.

Chicago hosted the Grant Park 220 NASCAR race in July. That event generated interest among sports bettors, who bet over $1.6 million on motor sports for the month. Tennis was also a big hit for sports bettors. Wimbledon runs during the first two weeks of the month.


Looking back at past numbers

June sports betting in Illinois enjoyed a $666 million handle, so the $608.9 million for July represents an 8.6% drop-off. Year over year, though, July surpassed betting from a year ago ($514.3 million) by 18%, showing an overall upward trend in the state.

Clearly, the overall handle reflects mainly on the actions of the professional sports calendar. In May, it was $821.7 million, when the NHL and NBA playoffs were rolling. In April, it was $900 million. The MLB season began in April ,and the Final Four of the NCAA Basketball Tournament took place April 1 to 3.

Thanks to March Madness, Illinois set an all-time, one-month record with $1.072 billion of total handle.

Expect the numbers to start to rise again as the NFL season picks up, even with the Chicago Bears 0-2 and struggling. October also sees the start of the NHL and NBA regular seasons and the MLB playoffs.

Illinois July handle numbers by sport and parlays

  • Baseball: $200.2 million
  • Parlays: $155.3 million
  • Tennis: $81.2 million
  • Other: $53.6 million
  • Basketball: $48.9 million
  • Soccer: $36.8 million
  • Golf: $16.7 million
  • Boxing/MMA: $13.6 million
  • Football: $3.4 million
  • Motor sports: $1.7 million
  • Hockey: $51,235

Illinois handle numbers by licensee

  • Casino Queen: $232.3 million
  • Fairmount Park: $201.2 million
  • Midwest Gaming & Entertainment: $58.6 million
  • Par-A-Dice Gaming: $29.5 million
  • HC Aurora: $20.4 million
  • Elgin Riverboat Resort: $33.5 million
  • Hawthorne Race Course: $29.9 million
  • Alton Casino LLC: $1.9 million
  • HC Joliet: $631K
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Darren Cooper

Darren Cooper was born and raised in Southern Louisiana, just a short pirogue ride away from New Orleans. He started his journalism career at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and has been a writer and columnist in New Jersey since 1998. He's won 14 statewide press awards and earned his first Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 award in 2022.

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