Illinois sportsbooks began to emerge from a summer slowdown through August, after the state’s sports betting ecosystem slowed to its lowest level in ten months one month earlier.

An 8.5 per cent gain in betting volume month-on-month, the first such gain since March, has been welcomed ahead of what analysts are calling “a critical time of year for the industry”.

Illinois’ retail and online sportsbooks accepted $400.4m in bets in August, up 185.8 per cent from $140.1m in August 2020 and 8.5 per cent from $369.1m in July. 

The per-day betting volume grew to $12.9m over the 31 days of August, up from $4.5m per day in August 2020 and $11.9m per day in July.

Gross gaming revenue fell 12.3 per cent to $32.7m from $37.3m in July, which produced $26.8m in adjusted gross revenue. August’s profit yielded $4.3m in state and local taxes.

The month’s volume helped push the Illinois industry to $4bn in wagers and $326.3m in gross gaming revenue for the year, with the state projected to potentially reach $6bn in wagers and $500m in gross revenue by year’s end.

“There is little question that the final four months of the year will bring an onslaught of fresh records,” said Joe Boozell, lead analyst for PlayIllinois

“The biggest unknown is how much will in-person registration and the ban on wagering on in-state college teams drag on betting volume. We know it will be a strong finish to the year for sportsbooks, but it won’t be as good for the industry as it could have been.”

August’s wagering included $380.2m in online bets, which accounted for 95 per cent of the state’s handle. DraftKings/Casino Queen topped the table again with $149.2m in combined online and retail handle, up from $122.7m in July. The operator also took in a market-best $146.6m in online wagers. 

In all, DraftKings generated a market-leading $11.3m in gross gaming revenue, an uplift from $9.5m in July.

FanDuel was second with $111.5m in online and retail wagers, down from $118.5 m in bets in July. Of this, $110.9m of August’s wager came online, which brought $10.5m in gross gaming revenue.

“The return of football brings in high betting volume, which is a motivator for every operator,” Boozell added. “But the value of football season for sportsbooks isn’t just in short-term profitability. 

“Strong engagement offers sportsbooks an opportunity to grow their customer base by using aggressive promotions and other marketing strategies. And that can pay off even after the football season ends.”