Month-over-month dips in handle for the month of February are commonplace with three fewer days of wagering plus the Super Bowl being the lone NFL game (aside from the Pro Bowl). This year’s decline, however, was far sharper than the 12.3% falloff from January to February in 2021. Despite the drop in wagering, Illinois joined New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania as the only states to surpass $10 billion in all-time handle in the post-PASPA era.
Revenue also took a tumble, with the $35.6 million in adjusted revenue for operators barely more than half January’s haul of $66.2 million. The overall hold of 5.2% was close to 2½ percentage points lower than the previous month and the fifth time in seven months it was below the industry standard of 7%.
The state still received more than $5.3 million in taxes for the month, while Cook County claimed $380,354 in tax receipts from the $19 million in revenue on wagers placed within the county, which includes the city of Chicago.
Despite the month-over-month declines, Illinois is still performing at much stronger levels year-over-year, with handle up 41.6% and revenue 22.2% higher despite the win rate being more than one full percentage point lower. The state has also collected close to $2.8 million more in tax receipts for the first two months of 2022 compared to 2021.
2022 YTD (vs 2021)
Handle: $1,545,561,041 (⬆️ 41.6%)
Revenue: $101,819,289 (⬆️ 22.2%)
Win Rate: 6.59% (-1.05 pts)
Taxes: $15,272,894 (+$2,772,034)
Cook Co: $1,100,008 (+$110,939)
— Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73) April 7, 2022
Caesars struggles continue
Even with its migration from William Hill complete, Caesars Sportsbook continues to struggle to find traction in Illinois. It became the first mobile operator in state history to post losses in back-to-back months, as bettors claimed $763,419 more than the $16.4 million wagered in February — with an assist from promotional payouts.
Caesars, which is responsible for four of the six mobile operator single-month losses in Illinois history, has nearly doubled its handle year-over-year so far to $31.4 million but has paid out just shy of $33 million in 2022, resulting in a -4.9% hold.
The other five mobile operators turned profits in February, and the best win rate belonged to BetRivers at 6.8%, helping it claim close to $7.3 million in revenue from $106.8 million wagered.
DraftKings had the steepest falloff in handle among online operators, plunging 26.7% to $207.8 million, which allowed FanDuel to claim first place in both handle ($211.3 million) and revenue ($11.2 million).
PointsBet again held off Barstool Sportsbook for fourth in both handle and revenue with slightly more separation in revenue. The Australian-based operator reported close to $3.1 million in revenue from $57.7 million wagered, while Barstool came out $2.1 million ahead on $52.2 million worth of bets.
The overall online win rate of 5.2% was more than two full percentage points below the 7.5% posted in January.
Casino Queen avoids the retail sting
After the betting public rode the L.A. Rams through the playoffs in January to hand Casino Queen a loss, the East St. Louis venue near the Missouri border bounced back in grand fashion in February with an all-time high win rate of 26.3%, as it kept close to $1.2 million of the $4.4 million wagered.
Two retail books — Harrah’s Joliet and Hollywood Aurora — posted losses in February, but Hollywood’s Aurora location had a meager loss of less than $1,700 on $2.7 million wagered, while bettors at Harrah’s Joliet came out $81,430 ahead on more than $1.4 million wagered.
While Rivers set the pace in retail handle with $10.3 million, its sixth straight month with eight-figure handle, Hollywood Aurora used a registration promotion that led to nearly $1 million being wagered on live college sporting events.
Parlay and hoops primary sources of revenue
Though operators did claim more than $9.5 million in revenue from Super Bowl wagering, the overall revenue from football for the month totaled just $2.6 million from $50.6 million wagered. Basketball wagering accounted for more than 42% of the overall handle at $289 million, though the 2.8% hold meant operators collected only $8.1 million in revenue.
Even parlays, which are often an outsized percentage of revenue for Illinois online operators, went bettors’ way more than usual. The overall online hold for those plays was 9.5%, just the third time it was below 10% since mobile wagering became available in the state. Operators still claimed more than $13.4 million from parlays, with FanDuel accounting for more than half that total with $7 million through a 10.8% win rate.
There was more than $5.6 million in operator revenue from tennis and soccer combined, while the house fared well in golf with a 13.6% win rate to claim nearly $1.2 million from $8.8 million wagered.