Mobile Illinois Sports Betting Surges In September Despite Law Crafted Against It

Posted on November 16, 2020

The popularity of mobile Illinois sports betting is not a surprise but its ability to thrive in a market crafted against it bears mention.

It took long enough, but we finally know how much was wagered on sports betting in Illinois and the total US in September.

Total US sports betting handle was nearly $2.9 billion in September, a new national record. It’s the second straight month of more than $2 billion bet legally on sports in the US.

The last addition to the list came from sports betting in Illinois, which takes more than a month to report its results. Handle in the relatively new state hit $305 million, easily doubling its total from August.

Mobile drives IL growth

Nearly 93% of that handle came via mobile wagering. The IL sports betting law attempted to lock out most operators for nearly two years, leaving the Land of Lincoln potentially driving hours to sign up for mobile or be stuck with limited options.

The ongoing suspension of the in-person registration requirement during the coronavirus outbreak helped alleviate that issue. It also helped lessen the need for those wanting mobile options to drive from Chicago to nearby Indiana to place wagers.

The state had $6.8 million in adjusted gross sports betting revenue according to the report, good for 2.2% hold.

BetRivers still leads IL sports betting

BetRivers maintained its control of market share in Illinois for a second straight month, though its lead was much less extreme in September.

Rush Street Interactive‘s sports betting operator took $112.6 million in bets last month. That’s breaks down to 36.7% of total market share.

It’s a far cry from the 84.2% market share it held in August, which was aided by Gov. JB Pritzker‘s indecisiveness over whether to allow remote registration to continue.

In fact, BetRivers’ September handle was 4.3% lower than its August handle as other books significantly ate into its share.

DraftKings Sportsbook ranked second in the market with $98.2 million in handle followed by FanDuel Sportsbook at $78.5 million.

Mobile registration will continue for now

It’s clear the Illinois sports betting market benefits from the unexpected early adoption of remote registration, which will continue for at least another month.

Pritzker renewed a slew of executive orders for another month on Friday, including the one that suspends the in-person registration requirement. The coronavirus pandemic is raging through Illinois, making it unlikely the governor would lift the suspension in the short term.

Illinois is seeing a much larger portion of its sports betting handle come from online than originally expected at the beginning because of remote registration. Online handle was $282.8 million in September.

Illinois was a top-five sports betting market

Illinois might be new to the US sports betting party but it’s already making its presence felt.

The state ranked fourth in terms of handle for September:

  1. New Jersey: $748.6 million
  2. Nevada: $575.1 million
  3. Pennsylvania: $462.8 million
  4. Illinois: $305 million
  5. Colorado: $207.7 million

Just missing out on the top five was nearby Indiana, which took a then-record $207.5 million in bets during September. The Illinois launch doesn’t appear to have hugely negative impact on IN sports betting so far, as it posted another record of $230.9 million in handle for October.

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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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