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Illinois’ Long-Awaited September Sports Betting Figures Take National Handle Over $5 Billion

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Bettors line up to place wagers. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images via AFP.

Legal U.S. sports betting hit a record national handle in September, thanks to Illinois.

It has become an arduous ritual – waiting 45 days after the end of a month to see how Illinois stacked up against the rest of the heavyweight states in the U.S. legal sports betting industry. The state’s results allow us to ultimately tabulate the total U.S. monthly handle. This time, the wait was worth it. Illinois finally released its September sports betting handle on Monday and the numbers nearly set a monthly state record, while taking the national September total over $5 billion. It is the first time the U.S. scene has eclipsed that mark.

September was, by all measures, remarkable for the U.S. legal sports betting industry. Ten states set new high-water marks. Another four, including Illinois, reported their second-best sports betting month on record. 

The start of the NFL season poured jet fuel on wagering activity across the nation. It is the sole reason that more records, including ones in the Illinois market, will be under constant threat until March when the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is in the books.

A peek at the Illinois numbers

As mentioned, Illinois sportsbooks enjoyed their second-best month ever in September. A total of $596.5 million was spent at the state’s sportsbooks. It was an increase of 49 percent from August’s $400.4 million. The $596.5 million September handle is only bested by the $633.6 million in bets taken in by the state’s operators in March.

Illinois’ lifetime handle surpassed the $6 billion mark with September’s figures. It makes the Land of Lincoln only the fourth state to hit that milestone. The others are New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.

Revenues for Illinois sportsbooks in September came in at $40 million, which represents a 48.9 percent increase from August’s $26.8 million. The win rate for sportsbooks was 6.7 percent in September, exactly the same as August. Tax contributions from sports betting operators were $6.5 million, up 49.4 percent from $4.4 million in August.

Unsurprisingly, football was the most bet on sport in Illinois in September. A total of $227.3 million was bet on pigskin action, baseball was next with $116.3 million, followed by tennis with $55.5 million, soccer’s $34.2 million and basketball’s $10 million contribution.

More about the national numbers

A $5 billion month for the U.S. legal sports betting industry is an incredible milestone. With 22 states, plus Washington DC reporting, the total stands at $5.19 billion, with Arizona’s and Connecticut’s figures still to come. The previous national monthly handle record came in March when $4.63 billion was reported.

National sports betting revenues also set a record in September. More than $334 million in profits were reported from retail and mobile sportsbooks nationwide in September.

For reference sake, the total National sports betting handle in August was $3.1 billion. National revenues for August were $196.1 million – 70.3 percent less than was recorded in September.

Where is the ceiling?

More U.S. states have come on board the legal sports betting train since March, and current participating states are reaching levels unimaginable a few short years ago. As a result of more betting in participating states, questions about just where the ceiling for the U.S. legal sports betting industry is have become commonplace for analysts, regulators, and sportsbook operators around the country.

New Jersey reported a $1,011,114,311 handle in September, Nevada posted $786.5 million in bets, Illinois was third with its $596.5 million and Colorado also eclipsed the $400 million handle mark in September with $408.3 million in sports bets. That’s nearly $3 billion from just four states!

October brought with it the start of the NBA and NHL seasons. They only add to U.S. sports betting menus and ultimately wagering activity in states with sports betting platforms.

Iowa is one of just two states so far to report its October handle. It beat its previous all-time high of $210.4 million in September by 33.5 percent, thanks to a $280 million October handle. Other records are sure to fall.

Anticipation for the rest of October’s figures is palpable. Expect more state records to fall and for the national $5.19 billion handle to become an impressive but one-month high-water mark. It is an awfully good time to be a bettor, a sportsbook operator, and a tax coffer benefitting from the meteoric rise of sports betting in the U.S.

SEE ALSO: Two Heavyweight States Take Different Paths on College Sports Betting