Bets during Baseball Season 

Illinois Sports Betting Numbers for 2020

Record-Setting Numbers

Sports betting in Illinois began in March, 2020. There are 7 casinos that offer sports betting as does Hawthorne Race Course.  But, because of Covid-19, these retail operations were closed down in December. 

So it is fairly extraordinary that in the month of December, 2020 Illinois Sportsbooks, through just 5 mobile online sites, recorded $491.7 million worth of bets. 

This was a monthly record for the state. In fact, the sportsbooks brought in over $42 million more than in November. In December alone, the Sports betting sites brought in profits of over $28 million and $3.6 in tax revenue. 


Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Yet, interestingly, even though the handle set a record, bettors did better in December than November. Apparently the win rate for the sportsbook dropped from just over 9% to around 4.9%. Thus the tax revenue was significantly lower in November (3.6 million) than October ($6 million).  

This is an interesting fact because it illustrates that there are so many variables operating in calculating revenue. Despite record setting numbers, it is not always apparent what the projected tax revenue will be.  

But, the money generated in Illinois, regardless of the ups and downs that may exist from month to month, is so huge that the State plans to continue to grow their sports betting market.  

Sports betting generated record handles in the last 3 months of the year, setting new national records. In 2020 alone Illinois sports books, retail and online, brought in close to $2 billion from wagerers, $125.5 million in taxable revenue and $20.2 million in state and local taxes. 

Rookie of the Year?

These numbers are remarkable since the pandemic stalled the launch of sports betting until July and curtailed retail sportsbook participation. Although Illinois is a relative newcomer to sports betting, it is the 4th highest sports betting state.  

Pennsylvania has the 3rd largest handle while New Jersey is first and remarkably, Nevada comes in second.  Currently, residents of Illinois are not allowed to bet on their own collegiate teams. This is expected to change, possibly in 2021, bringing in even more revenue with the introduction of a new bill.

Illinois sports betting is still considered a fledgling in the market. In just 10 months, Illinois is competitive with far more established markets. The State is still gearing up to increase their bottom line. 

Illinois Sports Betting Numbers: Ways to Bet

The sportsbooks are beginning to offer more unconventional betting and new ways to engage customers.  Many believe that the more competition among sports betting operators in the State, the more customers will enjoy their experience and the more creative betting will become.  

Right now the Sports books operating in Illinois, in the order of revenue producers, are DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers, Pointsbet and William Hill. Many of these operators are affiliated with retail casinos as well as online, mobile sports betting. Presently, mew brands are making their way into Illinois.  

Penn National’s Barstool, which is a branded app and popular in Pennsylvania is slated to bring in additional sources of revenue. Analysts believe that competition helps grow the pie for all.  

There is some concern that sports betting is opening in many mid-western States that will take customers away from Illinois.  Indiana is a big competitor and shares customers in the Chicago area, while Iowa and Michigan are set to burst out into the mobile sports betting arena. 

It will be interesting to see whether Illinois will be able to continue to grow its sportsbook and continue to bring in record setting revenue or whether competition will dip into their market share. 

If the number of operators continue to grow and competition among them remains fun and lively, Illinois could overtake Pennsylvania as the 3rd largest sportsbook market in the country.

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