Illinois joins New Jersey and New York in the select circle, having accomplished the feat in 39 months of regulated wagering. That does not include two months in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic prior to launching mobile sportsbooks in June of that year. Perhaps more impressively — or unimpressively for the betting public — Illinois reached that $2 billion mark a mere 12 months after getting to $1 billion in July 2022.
Traditional handle for July totaled $611.4 million, an 18.4% improvement over July 2022 as Illinois all but secured the No. 2 spot nationally for the sixth straight month. The state also surpassed $6 billion in accepted wagers for the calendar year, joining New York as the only states to do that in the first seven months of 2023.
The statewide hold was 9.9%. While that ranked seventh in state history, it ranks 21st out of 27 states to publish July figures. Arizona is the lone state yet to report for the month, but it is a near certainty the monthly national hold on gross revenue will surpass 10% for the second time in three months and the seventh time in 62 months of post-PASPA betting.
The state received $9.1 million in tax revenue from operators, lifting the year-to-date total to $83.3 million. That is $25.2 million ahead of last year’s pace through seven months as operator revenue is up 43.4% compared to last year at $555.2 million. Year-over-year handle is up 14.2%, and the 9.2% statewide hold is up 1.9 percentage points.
Operators continue to pound public in parlays
Illinois has long been a state where parlay wagering — including same-game parlays — is wildly popular despite the public absorbing significant beatings on it. July was no different, as the collective hold for parlays was 21.5% — the third time in four months it topped 20%, as the year-to-date win rate ticked up to 19.8%.
Overall, operators claimed $33.5 million in revenue from parlays, with FanDuel reaping $14.5 million via mobile wagering thanks to an eye-watering 24.7% hold. It was the 13th consecutive month FanDuel had a parlay win rate of 20% or higher, and it stands at 24.3% this year, with $164.9 million in revenue from $678.4 million worth of accepted wagers.
DraftKings was a distant second in parlay revenue among the seven mobile online operators with $10.4 million, but its 18.7% hold was second-worst. DraftKings had $780,000 more in parlay payouts than FanDuel despite generating $3.4 million less handle with $55.3 million.
BetRivers‘ increased focus on parlay wagering continues to pay dividends as its near-23% hold was second-highest and contributed to $2.7 million in winnings. Its $22.1 million in parlay revenue this year is already more than double what it generated all of 2022, and the 17.8% hold is 2.8 percentage points higher.
PointsBet also cracked 20% for hold on parlays, landing at 20.4% to claim $1.7 million in the wagering discipline. Caesars had the “worst” win rate of the mobile operators at 18.4%, while BetMGM and PENN Entertainment crafted holds of 19.8% and 19.4%, respectively.
Overall, FanDuel was the top mobile revenue generator with $24.4 million via a 12.2% hold on $200.2 million in handle. It was the third time in four months FanDuel had a win rate above 12%.
DraftKings was tops in handle at $229.9 million as it moved close to $8 billion in all-time handle. It had a more pedestrian 8% win rate to claim $18.3 million in revenue. That left the mobile titan within $150,000 of $500 million in total revenue in Illinois.
BetRivers claimed the final podium spots for handle and revenue at $52.3 million and $5.9 million, respectively. The hold of 11.3% marked the fourth straight month above 9%, its longest such run in Illinois.
PointsBet was the other operator to post a double-digit hold, crafting an 11.6% win rate while reaping $3.4 million from $29 million worth of accepted bets. It was nearly double the hold of June and was the fourth time in five months above 10%.
BetMGM narrowly missed that benchmark at 9.9%, claiming $2.9 million in revenue from $29.6 million handle. Despite placing fourth in handle at $33.1 million, Caesars was sixth in revenue with $2.4 million on a 7.3% win rate.
PENN Entertainment, which is pivoting its sportsbook’s brand from Barstool Sports to ESPN BET this fall, posted its first month with a sub-$20 million traditional handle since entering Illinois in 2021 and had a state-low 6.4% hold to end up with $1.3 million.
Tennis proves a winner for the house
Baseball was the top sport revenue generator at $10.8 million, mainly due to it being the most popular sport to wager on this July with handle of $200.2 million.
But tennis, a popular live betting sport, also continues to be a top draw in Illinois, with over 900,000 wagers placed in July. The $81.2 million handle on the sport was a high point for 2023, edging out June’s $81 million, and the $6.3 million in revenue from those wagers was an all-time high in the state, topping the $5.8 million from last September.
The U.S. getting upset in the round of 16 at the Women’s World Cup likely contributed to the healthy $3.6 million in operator winnings for soccer as the house had a 10.1% win rate there.
Basketball, golf, and the catch-all “other” category each provided over $2 million to the bottom line, though the house gave back in both hockey wagering and the combined boxing/MMA category.
Hockey losses totaled nearly $48,000, and in boxing/MMA, operators paid out $389,000 above the $13.6 million wagered, the second six-figure loss this year. Results on the combat sports have fluctuated wildly this year, with the house posting holds of 12% or better in three months to offset the nearly $1.1 million in losses accrued in February and July.