Illinois Bets Rocket Up To $430m In October

During October, Illinois sportsbooks hit another gear, accelerating to more than $430m in bets during the month, hitting a pace in just four full months that has not been achieved by any other jurisdiction in less than 16 months.

According to analysts for PlayIllinois, it was a stunning start made possible by, among other things, dropping the state’s in-person registration requirement for online sportsbooks.

In October, Sportsbooks drew $434.6m in bets, up 42.4 percent from $305.2m in September and the fourth highest grip among U.S. legal jurisdictions, behind only New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.

By contrast, New Jersey, the nation’s largest sports betting market, did not exceed $430 m in handling until its 16th month after launch. It took Pennsylvania even longer, hitting the target in September 2020 with $462.8 million, 23 months after launch.

Jessica Welman, analyst, stated: “Illinois is exploding at a pace we’ve never seen before, putting it on track to join the largest markets in the country by year’s end. This wouldn’t have been possible if lawmakers’ original intentions were met. If Gov JB Pritzker hadn’t suspended the in-person registration mandate, as was originally required, there is no way Illinois could have reached these heights so soon.”

Joe Boozell’s fellow analyst, added: “Illinois has long been an intriguing market, but nobody expected this kind of start. The market is still nowhere near maturity and yet it may still challenge Pennsylvania and Nevada in the coming months. We projected the market to one day take in $10bn in bets annually, and while that is still likely a few years away, it could come quicker than anyone dreamed, too.”

October’s bets yielded a whopping $42.2m in adjusted gross income, up significantly from $6.8m in September, with a sports calendar that included a full month of NFL football, the World Series, the NBA Playoffs, and the return of Big Ten football. Those profits resulted in state taxes of $6.3m.

A major contributor to October’s outcomes was regional interest. By receiving $ 186.7m in bets, up from $ 91.4m, football led all sports. In addition to hot starts by Northwestern and Notre Dame, that was reinforced by a 5-1 start to the season.

“In every regulated market, when local teams do well a corresponding uptick in betting is expected, so it’s not a surprise to see that in Illinois,” advised Welman. “That said, the weeks since October haven’t been as kind for the Bears. But that early interest has been baked in, so it shouldn’t get in the way of overall market growth.”

In October, online sports betting accounted for 94.3 percent or $409.8m of all bets, and the three largest operators continue to dominate the market. For the first time, DraftKings/Casino Queen led the industry with $141.4m in total handling, including $138.5m online. That is up in September from $98.3m overall and $95.9m online.

At $115.5m overall and $101.5m online, BetRivers/Rivers Casino continued to capitalise on its early launch, up from $112.7m overall and $98.6m online in September. With $105.6m overall and $105.2m online, up from $78.6m overall and $78.4m online, FanDuel/Par-A-Dice Casino made profits, too.

“BetRivers has really done well in getting a head start on DraftKings and FanDuel, but holding off the two largest sportsbooks operators in the country is all but  impossible,” Boozell said. “That said, with a bevy of new competitors set to launch in the coming months, the landscape should significantly change behind the state’s three biggest operators.”

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About Joe Kizlauskas

Joe is a seasoned iGaming copywriter and speaker who has been in the business since 2015. He's written more words on all elements of iGaming than he likes to remember, and he's contributed material to a number of well-known brands. Joe may be seen playing 5 a side, at the gym or playing games on his Playstation when he is not writing.