Illinois Becomes Top Four States for Betting

The gaming board in Illinois just released its betting totals for September. The figures show that Illinois sports are making its presence felt in the sports betting industry. A total handle of $305.2 million was generated by the bettors in the state for September. With that, Illinois has joined the league of biggest sports betting states, ranking fourth behind New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Nevada.

Illinois saw its betting handle at $139 million for August. October numbers from other US states have been higher compared to the September numbers. States like Indiana and New Jersey have surpassed what was considered record-breaking numbers in September. The same is expected from Illinois as they are yet to announce the numbers.

Online Betting Impact

Mobile betting in the state represented a large portion of the September handle. 92% of the total amount wagered ($283.1 million) came from online sources. Three major sportsbooks also dominated the online space as only $200,000 worth of bets from all three sportsbooks did not go through online channels.

BetRivers is considered the granddaddy of Illinois sports betting and was able to take $112.7 million in bets, of which $98.6 million were from online channels. DraftKings was able to rake in $98.3 million with $95.9 million from online. They started their online operation early in August. FanDuel reported a handle of $78.6 million following its launch towards the end of August.

A little over $1 million was given to the state as tax after all eight online and retail sportsbooks in the state of Illinois reported gross revenue of $6.8 million. The revenue from the sportsbooks is considered low and is likely because of the bonuses offered by sportsbooks. Most of that comes from the registration deposit bonus. Cook County will also receive a little above $82,000 in taxes as $4.1 million of the revenue was generated from there.

Mobile Application Waiver gets Another Consent from the Governor

Mobile sports betting enjoyed so much success in the state and that is unusual this early after a launch. The modus operandi was supposed to have bettors first register at a land-based casino before they can use a particular online app. This is how lawmakers intended it to be as they legalized it in the state. However, the state went ahead to waive this requirement for the moment, following the covid-19 outbreak to adhere to social distancing rules. The waiver has been issued for June, July, and August. The rule is that it has to be issued every month as a covid-19 emergency order. An extension has been issued for November as casinos are still operating with limited active hours because of the volume of COVID cases across the state. It is, however, unclear if the lawmakers will make this permanent or would do away with the waiver when the pandemic is under control.

Illinois Becomes DraftKings Second-Largest State

DraftKings’ leadership has come out to announce the importance and effect, its operation in Illinois will have on its bottom line. The co-founder and CEO, Jason Robins said to analysts that Illinois has become its second-largest state by a handle behind New Jersey. He also expressed his excitement after stating that Illinois is its fastest-growing state and is confident of the impact that will be seen in its revenue during the 4th quarter of the year.

Of all nine states, DraftKings has a presence in, Illinois has the largest population with Pennsylvania cutting in a close second. The home of the sportsbook- New Jersey – has a considerably larger population but the location of the retail book is too far from New York City, leaving bettors no other option than to move to New Jersey to make their wagers.

The location of DraftKings retail book in Illinois is also disadvantageous as bettors will have to take a five-hour ride to arrive at Casino Queen East St. Louis, which houses DraftKings. The waiver has proved very beneficial to the company and has reflected in its growth in Illinois. Continuous operation in this manner will have a significant impact on DraftKings’ customer acquisition and at the same time, their revenue. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for DraftKings once the tethering waiver is put back into place.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.