The future looks bright for the fledgling sports betting market in Illinois, analysts say, with state-wide grip forced towards $500 m in December and the debut year of the industry ending with bets of almost $2 billion.
A higher level of betting on February’s Super Bowl could signal an even bigger year ahead, coming in the midst of the continued closing of retail casino establishments in the final month of 2020.
Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayIllinois.com said: “No state has made a bigger splash in its first year of regulated sports betting than Illinois.
Potential for lucrative year
“But with growth that is expected of any fledgling market, combined with, hopefully, a return to more normal life for everyone, 2020 should be a prologue to a year that has the potential of being one of the most lucrative for any legal jurisdiction.
“The caveat is, though, that a lifting of the current suspension of the state’s in-person registration requirements would have a chilling effect throughout the market.”
In December, Illinois’ online operators attracted $491.7 million in bets with retail sportsbooks closed, according to official statistics, which grew 8.6 percent from $449.2 million in November and is the fourth largest handle in the US for the month, behind New Jersey ($996.3 million), Nevada ($588 million), and Pennsylvania ($548.6 million).
December bets produced $28.4 million in operator profits, down from $41.3 million in November, and yielded $3.6 million in state taxes.
Rivalling established markets
Joe Boozell, analyst for PlayIllinois.com said: “With results that have rivalled far more established markets, it might be easy to forget that Illinois is still nowhere near its maturity as a market.
“The state is still very much ramping up, but there is no question that Illinois will be an increasing force in the industry.”
The retail and online sportsbooks in Illinois generated $1.9 billion in wagers for the year, $125.5 million in taxable income, and $20.2 million in state and local taxes.
In addition, bets on the Super Bowl in February hit $45.6m, the fourth largest among states that published data after the NFL showpiece.