Illinois Sports Betting Sets Another Record
The Illinois Gaming Board has finally released the December sports betting figures, and it was another record-setting month for the state.
While most states are already focusing on totaling up the January numbers, the IGB takes an additional 30 days to process the results.
For December, the total sports betting handle came in at $492 million, shattering the previous record of nearly $450 million in November. Sports betting got off to a slow start in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Illinois has grown into the fourth-largest market in the United States.
Even though the state saw a record number of wagers to end 2020, it was a disappointing month in terms of revenue. There was a decrease in sports betting revenue by more than 23%, and the reported total was just $28.4 million.
Illinois is in desperate need of revenue as the state is staring at a large budget deficit. Governor J.B. Pritzker has taken steps to allow the Illinois online sports betting industry to grow, but in-person betting remains shut down due to restrictions on Illinois retail casinos.
For the 2020 calendar year, Illinois posted a sports betting handle of nearly $1.9 billion, and that was in a little less than 10 months. Taxable revenue was over $125 million, and there was more than $20.2 million generated in state and local taxes thanks to sports betting.
New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania continue to lead the way in terms of sports betting in the United States, but Illinois is making up ground quickly. At some point in 2021, Illinois is expected to surpass Pennsylvania as the third-largest market.
Still Just Five Online Sportsbooks
Even though Illinois continues to set new industry records in terms of handle, there has not been a ton of growth in the state since September. There are still just five online and mobile sportsbooks in Illinois, but that is expected to change beginning in March.
DraftKings has now emerged as the top sportsbook in Illinois, accounting for 40 percent of the handle in December. FanDuel (29%) and BetRivers (23%) were right behind DraftKings, and there could be some shifting in the coming months.
PointsBet and William Hill are the other two online operators in Illinois, and they combined for the other 15 percent of the handle. These were the last two operators to launch in Illinois, and getting off to a slow start has hurt both companies.
Penn National Gaming has confirmed that it plans to launch its Barstool Sportsbook in Illinois at some point before the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament kicks off. The Barstool Sportsbook is currently available in just Pennsylvania and Michigan but is a popular option in each market.
Remote registration is still available in Illinois through March 6, but Governor Pritzker is expected to extend his Executive Order once again if necessary. There has been a recent push to permanently change the registration requirements so that in-person registration is no longer required, but nothing has been confirmed at this time.
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