Illinois continues rebound with in-person registration expiry in sight


Illinois’ sports betting ecosystem has ridden an NFL induced surge through September, after continuing to emerge from a summer slowdown that brought the state to its lowest level in ten months during July.

However, the month’s handle fell short of the state record of $633.6m that was set in March, with analysts stating that this was dampened by an in-person online registration rule that will likely be lifted on March 5.

Bettors staked $596.5m in wagers into Illinois retail and online sportsbooks in September, which is up 95.4 per cent from $305.2m year-on-year and 49 per cent from $400.4m in August. 

The month’s handle equates to $19.9m in bets per day, an increase from $10.2m per day in September 2020 and $12.9m over the 31 days of August.

Accordingly, gross revenue rose 279.3 per cent to $44.6m in September from $11.8m YoY, with that figure also representing a 36.3 per cent per cent uptick from $32.7m in August. This led to $40m in adjusted gross revenue in September, yielding $6.5m in state and local taxes.

Only New Jersey ($1.01bn) and Nevada ($786.7m) attracted more bets during September than Illinois, which surpassed Pennsylvania’s $578.8 m.

Since launching legal sports betting in 2020, Illinois has generated $6.5bn in wagers, fourth most among all markets during that time, $508.3m in gross revenue, and $78.3m in state taxes.

“September will set a US record for legal sports betting, and Illinois was able to meet those expectations,” said Joe Boozell, lead analyst for PlayIllinois

“But as strong as September’s results were, in-person registration continues to limit Illinois’ ceiling. Assuming the governor signs the bill that will put an end to the rule on March 5, Illinois will begin breaking through this monthly handle plateau in spring.”

Online betting accounted for 95.5 per cent, or $569.9m, of the state’s handle in September. DraftKings/Casino Queen topped the table with $236.5m in combined online and retail handle, up from $149.2m in August, including an Illinois-best $232.1m in online wagers. 

FanDuel was again second with $156.2m in online and retail wagers, up from $111.5m in bets in August, $155m of which came online.

“DraftKings and FanDuel have been the main beneficiaries of Illinois’ relatively small roster of operators, which is still absent some of the nation’s largest operators, including number three BetMGM,” stated Eric Ramsey, analyst for the PlayUSA. “Ideally, with the latest changes there will be renewed interest in Illinois from operators.”