Illinois will never be accused of rushing reports on their monthly sports betting handles. On Friday, the Illinois Gaming Board finally released their November figures, and unsurprisingly, they followed a trend of record-November hauls for participating legal sports betting states.
Since its launch in March 2020, the Prairie State has elevated into an elite class among legal betting jurisdictions and in November, posted the fourth-highest sports betting handle in the country – just behind New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. Illinois’ numbers also helped push the US National sports betting handle to over $3.5 billion, the second straight month that number has eclipsed $3.2 billion.
“Illinois’ success is more than just a large population fueling impressive numbers that dwarf smaller states,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayIllinois.com. “Illinois is rivaling markets such as Pennsylvania that are far more mature and just as large, and it’s doing it because the top online sportsbooks in the country are investing heavily in the market and Illinois bettors are responding with an unprecedented fervor.”
A Closer Look at November Numbers
Although it seemed like an eternity ago, November’s sports betting menu consisted of almost exclusively NFL and college football. The NBA, college basketball and NHL hadn’t kicked off their seasons at the time. However, that didn’t stop Illinois bettors from coming out in force.
According to the Illinois Gaming Board, bettors in the state placed a record $451 million in wagers, a modest increase from the $434.6 million in October. Those numbers made Illinois just the sixth state in the nation to surpass $1 billion in a single year of legal sports betting.
Analysts are saying that the bulk of the handle came from mobile apps, even though those exact figures haven’t been released just yet. The increased mobile revenue can be attributed to the issues that brick-and-mortar casinos are having as well as Illinois’ temporary remote sign-up procedure for internet betting.
Illinois sports betting revenues came in at $41 million, thanks to a 9.17% hold rate, which is a slight decrease from October’s $42.2 million. Because of the high tax rate for legal sports betting in the state, coffers were able to extrapolate $6.15 million in tax revenue off of the profits.
Done With Just 5 Operators and a Pandemic Going On
The Illinois sports betting scene has been remarkable considering the fact that there are just 5 operators in the state competing for bettors’ dollars. 5 operators generating $451 million is stunning to say the least. COVID-forced shutdowns of the state’s brick-and-mortar facilities threatened to put Illinois sportsbooks behind the eight-ball in November – a threat that never really materialized.
“Remarkably, Illinois has done all this with just a handful of operators and without some of the best-known brands in the industry,” Joe Boozell, analyst for PlayIllinois.com said. “The gains will continue to attract operators and could have Illinois poised to challenge even the largest market in the US, so long as the state’s in-person registration requirement remains suspended.”
Compared to Other Heavyweight States
Illinois has done a great job in elevating its sports betting platform into the top-tier of bet-friendly states. New Jersey continued to lead the way in November with a $931.6 million handle, Nevada was second, generating $609.4 million in November, Pennsylvania was third with a $491.9 million handle in November and Illinois took the fourth spot.
The $451 million taken in during November put some room between Illinois and fifth place in the race to be America’s most successful betting state. Indiana, which was fifth reported a handle of $251.4 million and sixth-place Colorado produced $231 million – over $200 million behind Illinois.
The Future in Illinois
Because of what Illinois has accomplished in its eight months of sports betting legalization, analysts are correct in expecting the market there to maintain stratospheric heights and to continue to grow.
Penn National‘s Barstool-branded app, BetMGM, and Unibet are expected to come online within the next few months. They should, in theory, supercharge the market. And with Governor JB Pritzker extending an executive order that allows for remote sign-up for its mobile betting platform for the seventh time, the sky is the limit for the state.