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Illinois April Slide Still Results in a Rankings Rise

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Illinois April Slide Still Results in a Rankings Rise
Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Tamara Demir

It always takes the state of Illinois a while to report their monthly legal sports betting numbers. Case in point – The Illinois Gaming Board just released their April sports betting figures Wednesday, in the midst of some other states reporting out on their May figures. But the wait is usually worth it.

As per usual, there was no shortage of intrigue that accompanied the Illinois April statistics. While the numbers support the broader industry-wide seasonal slowdown, at the same time, they elevated Illinois into a surprise second place in the ranking of the most bet-friendly states in the nation. April’s numbers also made Illinois just the fourth jurisdiction in the states to surpass a $4 billion lifetime handle.

About Those Numbers

All participating sports betting jurisdictions have reported their April figures with the release of Illinois on Wednesday. Some states had it better and some had it worse during the 31-day period with Illinois landing smack in the middle in terms of their percentage-drop.

When all was added up, The Illinois Gaming Board reported a $537.1 million handle for its state’s sportsbooks which represents a 15.2% decline from March’s record $633.6 million sports betting take. Illinois was the only state other than New Jersey to surpass a half-billion handle in April.

Profits for Illinois sportsbooks took a step back as well, but it wasn’t nearly as drastic. $43.6 million in profits was reported for April – a minor 1.6% dip from the $44.3 million in profits that Illinois sportsbooks made in March.

Win-Rate and Taxes

Sportsbook profits benefitted from a relatively high 8.12% win-rate that Illinois sportsbooks reported in April – one of the highest rates ever reported for the state. That number bests the 6.99% win-rate reported in the state in March and provided a nice financial total for the state’s books and ultimately its tax coffers.

Thanks to the win-rate for Illinois sportsbooks, state and local tax coffers were able to benefit to the tune of $7.1 million in tax contributions. Despite a 15.2% drop in overall handle, sportsbook tax contributions only fell 1.2% from the $7.2 million in March.

Mobile’s Peak?

Illinois’ mobile sportsbooks continued to dominate the overall handle in April. Betting apps were responsible for 95% of the state’s overall April handle – $513.2 million of the overall $537.1 were internet-based wagers. Just $23.9 million came from Illinois’ retail sports betting sector.

The big question heading into the summer surrounds Illinois’ dominant mobile sports betting platform. It was April 2 that Gov. JB Pritzker reversed the emergency order allowing remote registration for betting apps. The state returned to a far more restrictive in-person only sign-up requirement for their wildly popular sports betting apps.

Landing at #2

The Illinois legal sports betting scene reached new heights in April in terms of their standing in the race to be the top-producing jurisdiction in the nation. Typically landing in the #4 spot, Illinois and their $537.18 million April handle was the second-best recorded in the US.

New Jersey, unsurprisingly remained in the #1 spot thanks to their $748 million April sports betting take, Illinois was second, Pennsylvania third with $479.4 million and Nevada fourth with a disappointing $458.2 million.

It is unlikely that Illinois stay inn the #2 position, however. Gov. Pritzker’s decision to revert back to in-person mobile betting sign-up and the inevitable post-COVID Nevada tourist spike will likely send Illinois down a peg or two on that list. But #2 was certainly a nice surprise for April.

Where Illinois’ April Puts the National Handle

The industry-wide slowdown of the US legal sports betting industry is best illustrated by the overall national handle for April. Sportsbooks across the US, after the Illinois contribution, generated just $3.7 billion in bets during the month – a steep drop from the $4.6 billion in March. April was the first month since December that the country’s sportsbooks didn’t hit the $4 billion plateau.

National sports betting revenues also saw a significant decline. Profits dropped 15% in April, from the $310.9 million in March to $256.1 million in April.

Hopes are that the NBA and NHL playoffs that will go well into the summer, the Olympics and even Euro 2020 will be able to tie the Illinois and national sports betting scenes over until September, when we know the market will explode with the start of the NFL season.