Illinois the Quickest in US History to Reach $5 Billion Sports Betting Handle

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Sports betting in Illinois took $476.5 million in June, which is the lowest it’s been since December 2020. However, the state still managed to break the $5-billion mark faster than any other state to date.

Sports Betting Handle in Illinois Slumps but Revenue Increases

In June, sport wagering in Illinois dropped below $500 million for the first time since December 2020, even though revenue continued to surge. As the handle in June fell, gross gaming revenue rose 31.8% (to $48.2 million) from $36.6 million in May, which is the third-highest revenue total in state history. It surpassed the $49.9 million in March and the $49.4 million in January. July’s adjusted gross revenue was $47.5 million, with $7.7 million going for state and local taxes. The revenue increase is the result of the summer sports bettors’ engagement.

Retail and online sportsbook operators took only $476.5 million in betting in June, which is down by 6.1% ($507.3 million) from May. The lowest handle sportsbooks in the state collected before that was $449.2 million in November 2020.

Illinois Sets a New Record

June’s handle put Illinois in third place in the US in sports betting, behind New Jersey with $766.9 million and Nevada at $545.5 million.

With June’s handle, Illinois reached its $5.1 billion in handle in 16 months, breaking New Jersey’s record of 18 months. According to analysts from PlayIllinois, the state was the quickest to reach $5 billion in lifetime handle among all legal states in the US market.

PlayUSA.com analyst Eric Ramsey said, “Illinois sportsbooks are very much continuing down the same path as most major U.S. markets in June, with revenue surging despite the seasonal headwinds working to keep handle down.” He said that sportsbook operators only have to endure one more month until action in the fall starts.

DraftKings Remained the Market Leader in June

Basketball is at the top of the list for sportsbooks, with $126.9 million in bets for June, down from $154.3 million in May. It is followed by baseball, with $126.7 million in bets (up from $126.1 million in May), while tennis bets increased to $40.3 million from $32.6 million in May.

In June, 94.8% of the wagers, a total of $451.7 million, were placed online. DraftKings/Casino Queen in East St. Louis was first in terms of bets from online and retail, with $160.2 million, down from $170.1 million in May. FanDuel & Horse Racing in Collinsville reported a handle of $156.3 million in June, which was almost the same as it was in May. Argosy Casino Alton had $2.7 million in retail bets.

In-Person Registration Requirements Affect Wagering

The state still feels the effect of the in-person registration requirements and the effect of the summer sports calendar. PlayIllinois.com analyst Joe Boozell said, “Even with all the twists and turns over the last year, namely the back-and-forth with in-person registration requirements and pandemic restrictions, Illinois continues to break new ground.”

Boozell added that in-person registration would still be an issue for the market, asserting that it could get worse if operators have to pay a steep price for an online-only fee. Licenses would become available in December, and that could make in-person registration permanent.

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