February online betting dominates Illinois as state shows YoY growth


Online betting within Illinois accounted for $652.3m, or 96 per cent, of all wagers in February, with FanDuel and DraftKings remaining in a “neck and neck” race for market share. 

According to PlayIllinois, FanDuel led all operators with $212.5m in online and retail wagering, including $211.3m in online wagering. In comparison, DraftKings produced $212.2m in combined online and retail handle, including $207.8m in online wagers.

These figures come in a month that witnessed the state’s sportsbooks slip to less than $700m, the lowest monthly handle since September. 

Citing just one NFL game on the roster, PlayIllinois stated that a post-Super Bowl “lull” was to be expected. However, analysts emphasised that the seasonal slowdown “masks” impressive year-on-year gains in what was the last month of in-person registration requirements. 

“The Super Bowl can’t completely replace the volume of wagers from a full month of NFL football,” said Joe Boozell, Lead Analyst for PlayIllinois.com.

“Importantly, though, sportsbooks continued to show strong year-over-year growth, and that momentum almost certainly accelerated in March, which brought lighter registration requirements and the NCAA Tournament.”

Within February, according to official data, bettors placed $679.4m in wagers at Illinois’ online and retail sportsbooks, despite $60.5m in Super Bowl-related betting. Moreover, February’s handle was up 33.3 per cent from $509.7m in the same period last year. However, the handle did witness a 21.7 per cent drop from the record $867.5m in bets in January. 

In addition, betting volume reach $24.3m per day over the 28 days in February, which was up from $18.2m per day in the same month in 2021, yet down from $28m per day in January. 

Sportsbooks won $35.6m in gross revenue from February’s bets, up 14.9 per cent from $30.3m in February 2021 and down 40 per cent from $59.3m in January. The win generated $5.3m in state and local taxes.

“The biggest concern for sportsbooks was wiped away when baseball announced that it would play a full schedule,” stated Eric Ramsey, an Analyst for the PlayUSA network.

“For the first time since Illinois launched sports betting amid the pandemic in 2020, sportsbooks can look forward to a normal sports schedule. Add in the change in registration requirements, and we’ll finally see the full potential of the market.”

February marked the last month of in-person registration requirements in Illinois, which were lifted in early March just ahead of the NCAA Tournament. March’s revenue will offer deeper insight into the growth that sportsbooks can expect for the remainder of the year in a market no longer artificially restricted.

“February was the end of the sports betting market’s first chapter,” Boozell added. “The biggest question ahead is whether Illinois can catch New Jersey and Nevada and establish itself as the clear second-largest sports betting market in the US, behind only New York. We believe that is a strong possibility.”