Illinois Sports Betting August Market Leader Exactly Who You Would Expect

Posted on October 6, 2020

The jump BetRivers enjoyed on mobile sports betting in Illinois certainly paid off in August.

Total Illinois handle was $139.8 million, up significantly from $52.5 million in July. Revenue hit $7.2 million, good for 5.2% hold, according to the state’s reports.

BetRivers accounted for 84.2% of that total with $117.7 million in handle. That left about $21.1 million in handle split between the DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook apps and four retail-only sportsbooks.

If that market share breakdown seems unusual, direct your questions to Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Although he stoked the market’s first flames by allowing remote registration in June, he turned it off for about a month, which gave BetRivers a strong advantage in the market.

Don’t expect the same market share breakdown for Illinois sports betting in September, though.

How did BetRivers dominate Illinois sports betting?

BetRivers, operated by Rush Street, was the first to launch its mobile app in mid-June. The launch came two weeks after Pritzker suspended the in-person registration requirement the first time.

Pritzker did so through an executive order as physical casinos were closed at the time from the coronavirus pandemic. In-person registration is supposed to be required by law in the market through at least next September.

That led multiple companies, including both DraftKings and FanDuel, to ramp up their efforts and prepare to launch while Pritzker’s executive order was in place.

But Pritzker did not renew the executive order in July. Instead, he and his office set up sports bettors to leave home during a pandemic to sign up for their online sports betting accounts.

Pritzker changed his mind again on Aug. 21, though, and once again allowed remote signup. But that left little time for DraftKings, which launched Aug. 5, and FanDuel, which launched Aug. 28, to make a significant push for new customers in the month.

DraftKings, FanDuel, others to take more share?

BetRivers basically owned the market through August with the help of Pritzker’s back-and-forth on remote registration. DraftKings Sportsbook did just $14 million in handle while FanDuel Sportsbook took $4.2 million in bets.

That likely won’t continue, though.

Pritzker renewed the executive order allowing remote registration last month, allowing it through at least Oct. 17. That means both DraftKings and FanDuel had all of September to market to customers and sign them up remotely.

But it’s not just those two competing with BetRivers anymore. PointsBet launched its Illinois app in time for week one NFL betting while William Hill launched its app Sept. 15.

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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