March 10, 2021 Sports Betting, Online, Land-Based

Illinois sports bettors wager $581.6m in January

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State hits $2 billion in lifetime handle.

Despite retail sportsbooks in Illinois being shuttered for the first 15 days of January, the state saw $581.6m in wagers during the month.

Of that total, $575.2m in bets were placed online, compared to $6.3m in person.

The handle represented an increase of 18.3% from December, when bettors wagered $491.7m.

The total placed the Illinois market fourth among legal sports betting markets in the United States for January, following New Jersey’s $958.7m, Nevada at $646.5m and Pennsylvania with $615.3m.

Basketball was responsible for $229.7m in wagers in January, 39.5% of the handle for the month, followed by football with $158.3m in bets, or 27.2%.

Operators in Illinois picked up $49.4m in revenue in January, an increase of 106.8% from December’s $23.9m.

The state collected $7.2m in taxes, with local entities generating $479,052 in tax revenue.

Illinois now has topped $2 billion in handle since sports betting was legalized in March 2020.

Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayIllinois.com, said the rapid growth of the state’s sports betting market has been impressive.

“No state has come close to reaching $500m in handle in such a short timeframe after launching, and to reach that mark with just five online operators, and retail casinos closed for much of January, is even more impressive,” she said in a statement. “Multiple factors had to come together to make that happen. The next step for the market is to get more operators online, which will help expand the pool of bettors.”

Joe Boozell, another analyst for PlayIllinois.com, said 2021 could see $6 billion in wagers and $450m in operator revenue, assuming continued maturity and more operators. He noted Penn National’s Barstool-branded app is scheduled to launch in Illinois 12 March.

“Seeing an impactful operator such as Barstool launch is a reminder that Illinois still has so much more room to grow,” said Boozell. “A few uncertainties could slow the market, including the potential return of in-person registration, but January’s results are more evidence that 2021 will almost certainly mark a sizable leap forward for the state’s sports betting market.”

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