ILLINOIS SPORTSBOOKS HIT RECORD $840 MILLION IN BETS IN OCTOBER Football, basketball betting spurs records for handle, revenue, and tax revenue as end of in-person registration requirements approaches, according to PlayIllinois

By | December 9, 2021


Illinois sportsbooks reached a new monthly record for wagering and revenue for the first time since the reinstatement of in-person registration. With more than $840 million in wagers, Illinois joined the top 18 legal sports betting markets in the U.S. that — using five weekends of football, the opening of the NBA season, and baseball’s postseason — set a market wagering record in October, according to PlayIllinois, which tracks the state’s regulated sports betting market.

“A calendar with an extra weekend of NFL and college football, the opening of the NBA and NHL seasons, and baseball’s postseason was always going to bring more action than a quieter month,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for the Network, which includes “Regardless, a new high highlights the continued strength of Illinois’ market, and it should grow even stronger in the coming months.”

Retail and online sportsbooks combined to handle $840.4 million in wagers in October, shattering the record of $633.6 million set in March, according to official data released Tuesday. Wagers were up 40.9% from $596.5 million in September and up 93.4% from $434.6 million in October 2020, as betting in October hastened to $27.1 million per day from $19.9 million per day in the previous month.

Gross revenue rose 2.9% to $48.3 million in October from $47.0 million in October 2020 and up 8.4% from $44.6 million in September. October’s revenue still fell short of the record $49.9 million in gross revenue set in March. Taxable revenue did reach an all-time high, though, to $52.6 million in adjusted gross revenue, yielding $8.5 million in state and local taxes.

The record handle and revenue was good news for Illinois’ sportsbooks, which after the return of in-person online registration in April had not reached the highs seen in the months before. Illinois ranked No. 3 in March among all U.S. markets with $633.6 million in wagers, behind only New Jersey ($859.6 million) and Nevada ($640.8 million). Illinois still ranked No. 3 in October, but has lost ground to New Jersey ($1.3 billion) and Nevada ($1.1 billion) — the first two states to surpass $1 billion in wagers in a month.

But with HB 3136 awaiting signature, which would do away with in-person registration early next year, perhaps a $1 billion month could soon come to Illinois.

“The Illinois sports betting market is thriving in spite of the current online registration rules, so it’s exciting to imagine what it will look like when sportsbooks are untethered,” said Joe Boozell, lead analyst for “A surge of new operators will certainly come. And there are an untold number of Illinoisans sitting on the sidelines interested in making a bet through an online sportsbook, but not enough to make a trip to a retail sportsbook to register.” 

October’s growth was a direct result of the month’s busy sports calendar. Five weekends of football, including a Chicago Bears game each weekend, attracted $330.1 million in wagers on the sport. That is up from $230.6 million in September. The opening of the NBA season, including a hot start by the Chicago Bulls, drove $93.3 million in action. Meanwhile, baseball attracted $77.6 million in bets, followed by tennis ($53.4 million), and soccer ($36.2 million).

“The Bears’ struggles are dampening bettor enthusiasm somewhat, but NFL wagering isn’t dictated as much by the success of local teams as other sports,” Ramsey said. “The early success of the Bulls, however, and the short playoff run by the White Sox, were a definite help.” 

Online betting accounted for $803.4 million of the wagers in October, or 95.6% of the state’s total handle. DraftKings/Casino Queen led the state with $315.3 million in combined online and retail handle, including $308.8 million in online wagers. The combined handle was up from $236.5 million in September and produced $11.7 million in gross revenue.

FanDuel was next with $236.7 million in online and retail wagers, including $235.4 million in online wagering. The combined handle was up from $156.2 million in September and created a market-best $22.3 million in gross revenue.

The leaders were followed by:

  • BetRivers/Rivers Casino ($135.7 million in wagers, including $119.0 million online; $8.0 million in revenue)
  • Barstool/Hollywood Aurora ($69.8 million in wagers, including $67.9 million online; $2.4 million in revenue)
  • PointsBet/Hawthorne Race Course ($62.4 million in wagers, including $59.6 million online; $2.8 million in revenue)
  • Caesars by William Hill/Grand Victoria ($14.0 million in wagers, including $12.7 million online; $593,941 in revenue)
  • Argosy ($4.0 million in retail wagers; $391,897 in revenue)
  • Hollywood Joliet ($1.8 million in retail wagers; $120,418 in revenue)
  • Par-A-Dice ($751,089 million in wagers; $43,120 in revenue)

“With only six in the state, Illinois is home to far fewer online sportsbook operators than any other major U.S. market,” Boozell said. “By next year, the number of online operators should grow well into the double-digits. An increase in competition would be hugely beneficial for bettors.”

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