Illinois sports betting operators feasted on the failed legs of parlays, collecting more than $44 million off those wagers while posting a record $79.3 million in overall adjusted revenue, according to figures released late Friday by the Illinois Gaming Board.
The revenue total was the sixth-highest total of the post-PASPA era nationally, but November has proven to be such a spectacular month for operators that Illinois ranked third for the month behind New Jersey ($114.8 million) and Pennsylvania ($84.9 million). It was the fourth state to surpass $70 million for the month as Nevada also cleared that bar with close to $72 million. November’s total in Illinois was 50.8% higher than October’s short-lived standard of $52.6 million.
Among the 24 states to publish revenue reports for November, Illinois became the 21st to set its monthly all-time high for revenue. Of the other three states, Mississippi and South Dakota had their second-highest revenue totals, while Louisiana only began accepting wagers in November. Arizona is the lone state yet to publish November figures, and it betting volume is all but certain to push national handle over $7 billion for the second consecutive month.
Traditional handle in the Land of Lincoln finished just shy of $780 million, a 7.2% drop from October’s record $840.4 million but still enough to make Illinois the third state to clear $6 billion in handle this year. It’s also the fourth to climb over $8 billion since wagering became legal on a state-by-state basis. The hold on the completed handle of $780.9 million was 10.16%, narrowly missing July’s all-time high of 10.19%
With record revenue comes record tax receipts, as state coffers received just shy of $11.9 million. Cook County received a separate $794,407 in tax revenue, as it receives 2% of revenue on all wagers made in the county, which totaled more than $39.7 million in November.
FanDuel ceding handle battle, winning revenue war
Running November Top 10 #SportsBetting Handles by state:
1 #NewJersey: $1.26B
2 #Nevada: $1.086B
3 #ILLINOIS: $779.9M
4 #Pennsylvania: $761.6M
5 #Michigan: $500.5M
6 #Colorado: $475.4M
7 #Indiana: $463.7M
8 #Virginia: $402.6M
9 #Tennessee: $365.7M
10 #Iowa: $287.2M
— Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73) January 7, 2022
It has already been dissected six ways from Sunday, but parlay wagering is the biggest factor in the eye-popping increase of sports betting handle in addition to the increased number of new states allowing wagers. Illinois’ figure pushed national handle over $50 billion for the year, with more than $1.3 billion coming from parlay bets made in the Prairie State.
Parlay wagering, specifically single-game parlays, has found another gear during the NFL season following the league’s decision to make FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars official partners in April, with operators reaping the benefits nationwide. As the first mover in the single-game parlay trend in Illinois, FanDuel has become the revenue leader of the six mobile operators while lagging a clear second to DraftKings in handle.
Parlay handle was $166.4 million in Illinois in November, accounting for 21.3% of the total handle, while the $44.2 million in parlay revenue — which would have been eighth nationally on its own — represented 55.7% of the total. The 26.6% parlay hold was a single-month record since launch in March 2020.
DraftKings claimed top handle for the seventh straight month as its $283.8 million represented 38% of the $746 million in mobile handle, while FanDuel’s $214.4 million accounted for 28.7%. While both online titans set monthly revenue records, FanDuel outpaced DraftKings by more than $9 million with a total haul of $30.1 million in online revenue.
In those seven months DraftKings has averaged nearly $38.4 million in handle per month, but FanDuel has averaged nearly $8.3 million more in revenue while amassing $134.3 million in that stretch to DraftKings’ $76.5 million.
That is not to say DraftKings has done poorly in parlay wagering in Illinois. It has averaged $50.2 million in parlay handle over the last seven months, and with a 13.2% win rate in that time, it has generated $46.4 million. DraftKings also had its best month in Illinois for parlay wagering in November, collecting more than $14.5 million with an impressive hold of 23.7%.
FanDuel is simply on another level, however, while averaging $52.6 million in parlay handle in the same period. Its parlay revenue of $20.5 million in November would have been enough to take honors even if had broke even on all of its other wagers. It has generated $89.3 million in parlay revenue over the last seven months, and that $42.9 million gap above DraftKings represents 74.2% of the difference in the two companies’ revenue totals since April.
Elsewhere across the mobile landscape
The pecking order for both revenue and handle remained the same in November among other operators. BetRivers took third in both categories, setting a record with nearly $11.8 million in revenue to go with $112.3 million handle. PointsBet ($5.6 million) and Barstool Sportsbook ($5.1 million) also set new highs for revenue, while Barstool again beat out the Aussie-based sportsbook for fourth in handle with $60.6 million compared to $54.6 million.
Caesars Sportsbook set its new record for handle as it crested $20 million for the first time, but it claimed just a 2.2% hold with just shy of $450,000 in revenue. In addition to being a distant sixth of six operators in handle for the year with $104.1 million — both FanDuel and DraftKings have exceeded that total every mont this year in Illinois — Caesars has a paltry 2.6% hold in 2021.
That hold is half that of DraftKings, which has the second-lowest mobile win rate in the state at 5.2%. Caesars totaled less than $2.7 million in revenue in Illinois in the first 11 months of 2021, but it may be biding its time until remote registration begins in March to raise its profile.
Retail sportsbook also posts record revenue totals
Brick-and-mortar sportsbooks also piled on Illinois bettors, claiming just over $5 million in revenue on the strength of a robust 14.8% hold. The previous record for retail sportsbook revenue was $3.2 million back in October 2020.
Unsurprisingly, Rivers Sportsbook in Des Plaines was the primary driver of the record total, becoming the first retail book in state history to clear $2 million in revenue from the $15.5 million bet. On the other side of the state in East St. Louis, Casino Queen posted its first $1 million revenue month, reaching nearly $1.2 million with a 24% win rate. Hawthorne Race Course, which also has two OTB sportsbooks, was the lone retail outlet not to post a double-digit hold, finishing at 7.3% while claiming nearly $200,000 in revenue.