The Illinois Gaming Board reported traditional sports wagering handle of $875.4 million for February on Thursday, likely reclaiming the No. 2 spot nationally behind New York.
The Land of Lincoln wrested the runner-up ranking back from Ohio, which cleared $1.1 billion handle in its January launch. That figure, though, was aided by nearly $320 million in promotional credits, and that total sharply declined across the Buckeye State in February to $59.1 million as part of its $639.8 million overall handle.
It was the first month Illinois finished second since last August, as it was a close No. 3 to New Jersey throughout the final quarter of 2022. Arizona is the only state yet to report figures for February, but even with hosting the Super Bowl, it does not seem likely it surpassed its monthly handle record of $691 million set in March 2022, let alone was able to reach Illinois’ handle.
Illinois also became the fifth state — along with New Jersey, Nevada, New York, and Pennsylvania — to surpass $20 billion handle in the post-PASPA era and temporarily moved into the No. 4 spot all-time pending Pennsylvania’s March report next week. Illinois’ February handle was down 18.2% from January, as it ended a four-month run of $1 billion-plus handles, but it was also 28.9% higher compared to February 2022.
Adjusted gross revenue totaled $68.4 million, resulting in a hold of 7.8% from a completed events handle totaling $880.5 million. The state received $10.3 million in taxes, while Cook County claimed nearly $704,000 from its 2% levy on the $35.2 million in adjusted gross revenue generated on wagers made within the county, which includes the city of Chicago.
The state has received $24.7 million in sports wagering taxes for the first two months of 2023, nearly $9.4 million ahead of last year’s pace.
FanDuel takes loss in football, wins in parlays
February #SportsBetting numbers 🧵for #Illinois via IGB. And now, the parlay report
7/x #GamblingTwitter pic.twitter.com/MCw85twXTY
— Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73) April 13, 2023
The IGB did not disclose Super Bowl wagering statistics this year, but the swing to overall negative revenue for football betting was notable, considering sportsbooks came out a combined $6.8 million ahead for such wagers in the month of February in 2021 and 2022.
Three of the state’s seven mobile sportsbooks finished in the red for football, with FanDuel taking the big loss after paying out $975,631 on top of $14.8 million handle. Caesars Sportsbook had the worst loss in terms of hold at -17.3%, as it absorbed a $568,372 loss on $3.3 million wagered. DraftKings finished $201,741 in the red on pigskin plays, pacing all Illinois mobile books with $20.2 million handle.
For overall revenue totals, FanDuel was an easy winner among mobile platforms at close to $33.2 million. It had a hold just shy of 10.9%, marking its eighth consecutive month in double figures on $305.5 million handle. The bulk of the revenue came from parlays, as its 24.6% win rate was nearly 9.8 percentage points higher than the nearest rival and resulted in close to $25.5 million in winnings.
DraftKings was a distant second in revenue at $18.2 million, with its hold a more modest 6.6% from $276.7 million in wagers. It also derived more than half its revenue from parlays, totaling $10.3 million with a 14.4% hold from $71.6 million handle.
While the overall hold for parlays was 17.9% on $240.4 million handle, there were mobile books that were well off that mark. Barstool Sportsbook had a 4.6% win rate on parlay wagers, its lowest monthly hold since entering Illinois in March 2021, and claimed less than $309,000. BetMGM had a 5.8% hold, taking $581,000 from $10.1 million in such wagers.
BetRivers, which expanded its parlay offerings at the start of the year, had a 12.7% hold on $18.8 million to claim $2.4 million in revenue. It has generated more than $5.9 million in parlay revenue in the first two months of 2023, compared to nearly $10.1 million for all of 2022.
BetRivers took the final podium spots for overall handle at $80.7 million and revenue with nearly $5.6 million. PointsBet had the second-highest mobile hold at 8.2% and claimed $4.2 million in revenue. BetMGM was fifth in revenue at $2.4 million, while Barstool fended off Caesars for sixth by just over $135,000.
Barstool’s traditional February handle, though, was just under $33 million — a decline of 36.8% year-over-year and $16.5 million less than sixth-place BetMGM.
Basketball and tennis top sports for revenue
February #SportsBetting numbers 🧵for #Illinois via IGB. Completed Handle/Revenue/WR by category (1/3)
— Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73) April 13, 2023
While the house collected $11.9 million from basketball bets, the public limited operators to a 3.3% hold on $360.8 million handle. Tennis was a strong No. 2 for revenue at $4.9 million, easily outpacing the $2.7 million from boxing and mixed martial arts. Tennis handle, though, was $77.8 million — more than seven times the $10.6 million from the two fighting disciplines, as that hold was a robust 25.1%.
There were seven-figure revenue totals for soccer ($1.5 million) and hockey ($1.1 million), but both sports joined basketball with sub-4% holds. The catch-all “other” category generated $2.2 million in operator revenue, as the win rate was a shade under 5% with $43.8 million handle. Motorsports handle was up 28.5% year-over-year to $1.2 million, which could be a good omen with NASCAR holding a race in downtown Chicago this summer.
Fairmount Park a surprise atop retail books
Retail books chipped in $2.2 million in revenue, though Argosy Casino in Alton finished just over $60,000 in the red from $3.2 million wagered. Rivers Casino had a soft February, totaling $559,079 from $11.3 million for a sub-5% hold.
That allowed FanDuel St. Louis at Fairmount Park to seize the top spot for revenue with $584,265, posting a whopping 29.9% win rate on nearly $2 million in wagers. Hawthorne’s handle totaled $2.6 million, but the first full month of wagering at its third OTB sportsbook in Villa Park contributed to a 18.6% bump in year-over-year handle.
Hollywood Casino in Aurora had a far better February than last year, finishing with $249,000 in revenue after posting a loss of $1,673 in 2022. The Barstool-powered book there had a 12.7% win rate, while the Joliet locale had a 14.3% hold to pick up nearly $166,000 on $1.2 million in wagers.