Illinois became the fourth state in history to enjoy a month with more than $450m in bets, after its November performance saw the state set a new record for monthly handle.
According to ‘approximate’ data released by the Illinois Gaming Board, bettors placed a record $451m in wagers in November, which is an increase of almost four per cent from $434.6m in October.
Only New Jersey ($931.6m) and Nevada ($609.4m), the two oldest legal sports betting markets in the US, and Pennsylvania ($491.9m) generated more in bets during November 2020.
November’s bets produced $41m in adjusted gross revenue for the operators, down slightly from the state record $42.2m in revenue generated in October. Those gains yielded $6m in state taxes.
“Illinois’ success is more than just a large population fuelling impressive numbers that dwarf smaller states,” commented Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayIllinois.com.
“Illinois is rivalling markets such as Pennsylvania that are far more mature and just as large, and it’s doing it because the top online sportsbooks in the country are investing heavily in the market and Illinois bettors are responding with an unprecedented fervor.”
Analysts have stated that Illinois’ ascent “remains unprecedented,” with New Jersey not surpassing the $450m barrier until its 18th month and Pennsylvania reaching $462.8m in September 2020, 23 months after launch.
With retail sportsbooks shuttered for the second half of the month, online sports betting accounted for the vast majority of all bets.
With only five online operators, Illinois is still home to a relatively short roster of sportsbooks, however, Penn National’s Barstool-branded app, BetMGM, and Unibet are among those that are expected to launch in the coming months.
“At this point, it makes sense to adjust our expectations up for the market,” noted Joe Boozell, analyst for PlayIllinois.com. “The retail market was shut down in November, and this was the first month since the market really heated up in July that the sports schedule was slower than the month before, and yet sportsbooks still made gains. Such resilience shows that Illinois is maturing more quickly than anyone imagined.”