Illinois Sportsbooks Post Record Handle In January

Written By Matthew Waters on March 11, 2022
Illinois sportsbooks

If Illinois sportsbooks can take nearly $870 million bets without remote registration, the market might really explode beginning this month.

Sports betting handle hit $867.5 million for January according to information released this week, a month many other states also saw handle records because of increased NFL betting during the month. Handle jumped 23.8% over December and 49.2% over January 2021.

Sports betting revenue did not set a record at $59.3 million, though it is the second-highest monthly total seen by IL sportsbooks. That 6.8% hold led to $10.7 million in taxes paid.

Illinois sportsbooks have remote registration again

Until last weekend, it had been 11 months since anyone could open a new sportsbook account on their phone. That is no longer an issue with the change coming right before the start of March Madness betting.

The Illinois sports betting law originally launched with in-person registration for the first 18 months of the market. Those plans quickly went out the window when Illinois launched betting in March 2020, the same time as the world began to shut down from the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. JB Pritzker lifted the in-person registration requirement through an executive order he renewed for multiple months straight beginning in August 2020. That order came to an end last April, though, with in-person registration the only option until remote registration was reinstated March 5, the result of a law passed by Illinois legislators in 2021.

Remote registration means renewed interest

Now that mobile registration is back, brands are showing life around Illinois.

BetMGM launched the same day mobile registration went live. It was the first launch since Barstool Sportsbook started a few weeks before remote registration ended last year.

Caesars Sportsbook also launched its Liberty platform in the state which is a “substantial upgrade,” according to Caesars and allows remote registration.

Will Illinois sportsbooks keep market share?

The first report that will show the impact of remote registration will not come out until May, so there is plenty of time to ponder what might happen before then.

One question is whether DraftKings and FanDuel will continue to hold the top two spots without much pressure.

DraftKings took 34.2% of all online handle in January with $283.7 million of the $829.1 million bet. FanDuel was second with 31.3% of the online handle share.

There is ground to be made up between those two and the rest of the pack, though:

  • BetRivers: 16.4%
  • PointsBet: 9.0%
  • Barstool: 7.3%
  • Caesars: 1.8%
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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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