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Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears celebrates with fans after a second-quarter touchdown against the Denver Broncos as we look at the Illinois August report.
Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears celebrates with fans after a second-quarter touchdown against the Denver Broncos. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP.

It took some time, but Illinois sports betting finally put an exclamation point on what was a decent summer of sports betting in their state at the best sportsbooks, betting sites, and best sports betting appsIllinois sports betting apps and retail providers experienced an uptick in betting activity during August, prior to the inevitable explosion once we get September's numbers, according to the Illinois Game Board.

It wasn't all good news out of Illinois' August earnings report. While an increase in overall August handle is a good thing, Land of Lincoln sports betting providers did experience a healthy drop-off in revenues. A 10.5% month-over-month increase also wasn't enough to hold off New Jersey, which for the first time in six months leapfrogged Illinois as the second-best sports betting state in the nation.

Some positive news came in the form of the state reaching the lifetime $25-billion handle mark in August, making Illinois just the fourth state in the post-PASPA era to hit that milestone, with a push from Illinois sportsbook promos. Only New Jersey, Nevada, and New York have surpassed that mark.

Illinois August Handle comes in at $676.1 million

$676.1 million was wagered on sports in Illinois during August. Betting activity in the state was, up 10.5% month-over-month and it increased nearly 20% year-over-year from the $564.8 million during August 2022. The totals from August take the state's year-to-date handle to $6.7 billion.

Illinois did slip to the bronze-medal position in the race to be the most successful U.S. legal sports betting jurisdiction in August after holding second place since January. New Jersey, which had been the gatekeeper second-best state prior to Illinois coming on board, finished almost $50 million ahead of Land of Lincoln sportsbooks in August.

Unsurprisingly, 96% of the total August wagering activity came from Illinois sports betting apps.

Baseball was the most wagered on sport in terms of handle in Illinois during August, with that sport generating $206.2 million of the overall handle. Tennis was responsible for the second-most at $89.1 million.

Revenues drop thanks to a poor hold rate

Despite a respectable increase in month-over-month sports betting activity in Illinois, revenues for the state's sports betting providers were disappointing.

$46.9 million in adjusted gross revenue was reported in August for Land of Lincoln sports betting providers. That's a 23.2% slide from July's totals, but a slight 1.8% improvement year-over-year.

The reason for the profits slide is tied to an August sportsbook hold rate that came in at an underwhelming 6.9%. Bettors in Illinois simply fared well against the house during the month. August marked the first time in 14 months that sportsbook win rate in the Land of Lincoln didn't exceed 7%.

Taxes paid by Illinois sports betting apps and retail providers came in at $7.04 million in August. The unflattering hold rate led to that being about $2 million less than what was contributed in July.

With August's totals added in, Illinois sportsbooks have now surpassed $300 million in lifetime tax payouts.

Split decision in operator race

Just like in most American legal sports betting jurisdictions, the battle to be the best Illinois sports betting app came down to two providers - DraftKings Illinois and FanDuel Illinois, with each claiming the top spot in the two main reporting categories.

DraftKings was the handle winner in August, just as it was in July, with $241.3 million of the overall $676.1 million handle. But thanks to an ugly 6.7% hold that book finished second in revenues with $15.8 million.

FanDuel was second in Illinois in terms of handle, taking in $222.6 million in bets. That shop led the way in revenues, thanks to a better hold rate. FanDuel Illinois made $17.3 million off of its August handle.

BetRivers Illinois was third in terms of August handle with $63.3 million in bets, with Caesars Illinois, PointsBet Illinois, and BetMGM Illinois rounding out the top six. Each book finished with a handle over $30 million.