Sports Betting Handle In Illinois Rises To $1.2 Billion In October

Written By T.J. McBride on December 18, 2023
Photo of Chicago Bears wide receiver DJ Moore on a story about October sports betting revenue in Illinois.

Illinois sports betting handle in October remained brisk, with $1.2 billion wagered.

It was the second-straight month over $1 billion of total handle. October saw a 11% improvement over September’s $1.08 billion. The year-over-year rise was stark as well, 17%, compared to the $1.03 billion wagered in October 2022.

The total number of wagers also increased month over month from 28.2 million in September to 31.7 million in October, an improvement of 12%.

Majority of wagers in October on professional sports as usual

There are currently eight Illinois online sports betting operators and another 11 retail sportsbooks taking wagers. The state reports its sports betting statistics in a unique way.

First, numbers are broken down into retail or mobile sports betting. Then, they are broken down between professional, college or motor sports. Lastly, regulators split all wagers into two subcategories: Tier 1 wagers, which are bets on single games; and Tier 2 wagers, which are everything else, including future bets and parlays.

In terms of which type of sport was most popular, there is no question it was professional sports, which led the way with over $1 billion of wagers in October. Of that total, $530.7 million were Tier 1 wagers, while the remaining $481.7 million of bets were Tier 2 wagers.

College sports came in second, with a total handle of $147.8 million. There was $101.2 million of Tier 1 bets and $46.6 million of Tier 2 wagers.

Just $890,661 was bet on motor sports, which was split between $469,011 of Tier 1 bets and $421,649 of Tier 2 bets.

No individual sport saw as much betting action as football

Illinois also breaks down its sports betting numbers by individual sport. Those statistics help paint a clear picture as to why October sports betting was so successful.

The clear king was football, which saw $382.5 million of bets placed. They represented 33% of all sports wagers. A total of 6.8 million wagers were placed on football, which accounted for 21% of all bets.

The only other sport to see over $100 million of wagers was basketball, which racked up nearly $120 million of sports betting handle from its nearly 1.7 million wagers.

While not an individual sport, parlay bets still led to massive success for operators. By far the most common type of sports wager in Illinois during October was a parlay bet. A total of 18.4 million parlay bets were placed in October, which was 58% of all wagers placed. Those bets led to $348.5 million of total handle.

DraftKings took the majority of online sports wagers in October

Between the eight mobile sports betting operators, over $1.1 billion of wagers were placed in October across the Prairie State. Leading the charge was DraftKings.

DraftKings Illinois, through Casino Queen, accounted for about 39% of all mobile sports wagers, which came out to $426.5 million. Professional sports was the category that saw the most wagers, to the tune of $371.5 million. College sports wagers added another $54.8 million to the total, while the final $281,069 came from motor sports.

The only real competition DraftKings had for online sports wagering was from Fairmont Park, which uses FanDuel as its sports betting operator. FanDuel Illinois saw just a hair under $400 million in mobile sports wagers in October. Professional sports accounted for $366.2 million of the total. College sports wagers totaled $33.3 million, while the final $143,667 came from motor sports.

Here is how the top five mobile sportsbook operators fared in October by total handle:

Rivers Casino the most popular destination for retail sports betting in Illinois

Of the 11 retail sports betting operations in Illinois, Rivers Casino via Midwest Gaming & Entertainment led the way in both professional and college sports wagering handle.

Rivers Casino had $11.5 million wagered on sports at its BetRivers Sportsbook. Most of that total was generated through professional sports, which saw $9.3 million in wagers in October. Another $2.2 million came from college sports, while the final $5,081 came from motor sports.

The silver medal for Illinois retail sports betting handle in October went to Casino Queen. A grand total of $7.9 million was wagered at its retail sportsbook, and $6.9 million of that total came from pro sports. Just a tad under $1 million came from college sports, while the last $1,844 was wagered on motor sports.

Alton Casino took the bronze medal with $2.9 million of total retail sports betting handle. Alton reached that mark thanks to $2.1 million being wagered on pro sports. Another $700,735 was bet on college sports, with just $6,290 bet on motor sports.

Here are the top five retail sports betting operations in Illinois in October ranked by total handle:

  • Midwest Gaming & Entertainment: $11.5 million
  • Casino Queen: $7.9 million
  • Alton Casino: $2.9 million
  • Hawthorne Race Course: $2.5 million
  • Hollywood Casino Aurora: $2.4 million
Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/AP
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T.J. McBride

T.J. McBride is a writer and reporter based in Denver. He covers the gaming landscape across multiple states in addition to his main beat covering the NBA's Denver Nuggets. His NBA work can be found at several major media outlets including ESPN, FiveThirtyEight and Bleacher Report.

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