The month of June was very good to sportsbooks across Illinois, as the state’s gaming board reported more than $47.5 million in adjusted gross revenue for operators Thursday.
The hold of 9.97% on the traditional handle of $476.5 million was the highest recorded in Illinois since the state began accepting wagers in March 2020. That jump of nearly three full percentage points from May’s win rate of 7.14% more than compensated for the dip in handle from May’s total of nearly $507.3 million, as operators saw their revenues climb 31.2% month over month.
June’s revenue total was less than $430,000 shy of the all-time high of $47.9 million collected in January. That month also saw a higher-than-average hold, as sportsbooks posted a hold of 8.24% to kick off 2021. Illinois operators have cleared $35 million in revenue every month in 2021 and hit the halfway point at more than $255 million.
Though the handle was 6.1% lower compared to May and ended a five-month run of at least $500 million in handle, it was still enough to make Illinois the fourth state in the post-PASPA era to clear $5 billion since the inception of legal sports betting, along with New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. The Land of Lincoln reached the benchmark in 14 months, trailing only Nevada (12) among the quartet.
Overall, Illinois finished third nationally in handle behind New Jersey and Nevada for June, ceding the No. 2 spot back to the Silver State after finishing runner-up in both April and May. It also became the fourth state to cross $3 billion in handle in 2021 alone.
Illinois state government was also a beneficiary of the high hold, as the state tax coffers received more than $7.1 million in June. Cook County received $557,166 in tax receipts, as nearly $27.9 million of operator revenue was generated in Chicago and the surrounding area.
Parlays power FanDuel to record revenue haul
Parlay wagering has firmly established itself as a favorite option of Illinois bettors, and June was no different, as more than $101.3 million was bet in that category. Already a proven revenue generator versus standard wagering, parlays delivered big across the board in June, as the 22.69% win rate resulted in nearly $23 million in revenue.
FanDuel, which has built a strong patronage through its single-game parlay offerings, became the first online operator in Illinois to generate $20 million in overall monthly revenue thanks to an eye-popping 27.84% win rate on parlay wagers. The $14.1 million generated on those wagers alone accounted for more than 70% of its revenue compared to 32.7% of its $155.3 million handle. Overall, FanDuel posted a 12.96% hold.
DraftKings, though, was able to lay claim to the top handle for the month at nearly $156.8 million, as both outfits cleared $1 billion in mobile handle in the state this year. DraftKings did finish with more than $13.1 million in revenue — more than double its May amount — with parlays accounting for 35.5% of that total at more than $4.6 million for a 16% win rate.
BetRivers claimed the other podium spot, finishing third in both handle at $71 million and revenue at slightly more than $6 million. It also had a strong showing in parlays, generating more than $1.2 million on those bets while recording a 20.4% win rate.
PointsBet and Barstool Sportsbook swapped spots for the No. 4 spot in handle as the latter saw a steep 24.8% month-over-month drop to nearly $28.9 million. PointsBet had a smaller slide of 10.6% to just shy of $33.6 million. The Australia-based operator finished with more parlay-based revenue than BetRivers, as the $1.3 million generated represented 41.9% of its $3.1 million overall haul.
William Hill, which does not offer parlays in Illinois, rounded out the online totals with nearly $5.5 million in handle and close to $350,000 in revenue.
In other Illinois Gaming Board news…
The Illinois Gaming Board also released the long-awaited short and long application forms for the three online-only licenses available as part of the gaming expansion bill Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law in June 2019 that also legalized sports wagering.
Despite the hefty $20 million license fee, double that of a retail sports wagering license, there is interest in those three licenses, given that Illinois requires in-person registration to obtain access to mobile wagering for the six operators currently accepting bets. The IGB noted the bids for the applications will not be disclosed to the public until it “determines the qualification of each applicant.”
After the board approves or disqualifies each applicant, it will then “open all qualified applications in a public forum within 48 hours” while also disclosing all applicants, their respective Disclosure of Records statements, and summary form.
The lengthy wait for this application, which was a key component of the gaming bill’s passage, was in part due to the “penalty box” provision Rivers Casino sought against DraftKings and FanDuel as penalty for operating Daily Fantasy Sports, which were declared illegal in Illinois back in 2015. The 18-month clock for when the IGB could begin accepting online-only applications started in June 2020 when it granted licenses to seven casinos for retail sportsbooks across the state.
That wait drove both DraftKings and FanDuel to seek partners with casinos in the state for faster entry — DraftKings rebranded Casino Queen in East St. Louis and launched operations in early August, while FanDuel launched in early September at Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria before relocating its license and rebranding Fairmount Park, launching its retail book there in March.