Illinois Sports Betting Market Posts Another Record Month In December

Posted on February 16, 2021 - Last Updated on February 23, 2021
Illinois sports betting
Posted By on February 16, 2021
Last Updated on February 23, 2021

Illinois posted another record month for sports betting handle in December 2020, hitting $492 million.

That was almost 10% up compared to November, despite all Illinois land-based casinos being shut because of the coronavirus pandemic. The uptick was helped somewhat by a lower hold rate, suggesting bettors were more likely to recycle their winnings. 

Hold for the month was 5.7%, down from 8.2% in November, according to the lagging state report. In turn, that led to a 23% drop in revenue to $28.4 million.

By handle, Illinois remains the fourth-largest betting market in the US, behind New Jersey, Nevada and Pennsylvania.

Illinois retail and online sportsbooks for all of 2020 produced:

  • $1.9 billion in wagers
  • $125.5 million in taxable revenue
  • $20.2 million in state and local taxes

Who is the IL sports betting market leader?

Like last month, DraftKings was the largest operator by handle. The Massachusetts-based operator had a 40% share of handle, ahead of FanDuel with 29% and BetRivers with 23%.

PointsBet had 9% of handle, while William Hill rounded out the market with a 6% share.

By revenue, it was a much tighter contest:

  • DraftKings: 30%
  • FanDuel: 29%
  • BetRivers: 26%

Those five operators might not have the market to themselves for much longer. Penn is hoping to launch the Barstool Sportsbook in IL before March Madness. Unibet also has its sights set on the Land of Lincoln.

What is Illinois betting on?

Predictably, football was king in December amid the final month of the NFL regular season.

Football attracted around 42% of all handle, followed by basketball at around 29%, then parlays at 18%.

Soccer was the fourth most popular sport to bet on.

What next for Illinois sportsbooks?

There are two key issues looming for Illinois sportsbook apps.

Firstly, Gov. JB Pritzker’s executive order allowing remote signups again is set to expire March 6. Pritzker is expected to keep extending that, but operators would feel more secure with a permanent law change.

Also, the industry is behind House Bill 0849, which would end the ban on betting on in-state college teams. Rep. Mike Zalewski’s bill was referred to the rules committee last week and picked up two new co-sponsors today.

Its passage could help Illinois vault into the top three betting markets in the US.

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Brad Allen

Brad has been covering the online gambling industry in Europe and the US for more than four years, most recently as the news editor at EGR Global.

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