Aided by having all five of its mobile sports betting operators available online for the entire month for the first time since operators went live in March, the Illinois Gaming Board on Thursday announced a record handle of nearly $434.6 million in October.
The figure was 42.4% higher than the $305.2 million reported in September, when both PointsBet and William Hill launched operations mid-month. It was the biggest month-over-month percentage increase of any jurisdiction with legalized sports wagering that generated a minimum handle of $10 million, and the $129.3-million increase was the largest jump of any state from September to October.
Sportsbooks in Illinois had a higher hold in October, posting a 10.02% win rate compared to September’s 3.85%. That resulted in operators collecting $42.2 million in adjusted gross revenue, more than a five-fold increase on September’s sum of $6.8 million. Illinois state tax coffers received more than $6.3 million from those revenues, while Cook County gained $480,000 in tax revenue.
October handle record setting nationwide
Illinois was the final state to report revenue for October, which was a record-setting month for legal sports betting operators across the board. More than $3.26 billion was wagered nationwide in October, a 14% increase from the previous record of $2.86 billion in September. Sportsbook revenue was also significantly higher in October than September — $267.8 million in revenue compared to $141.3 million.
Top 10 U.S. states by sports betting handle in Oct. 2020:
1. New Jersey: $803.1 million
2. Nevada: $659.9
3. Pennsylvania: $525.8
4. Illinois: $434.6
5. Indiana: $230.9
6. Colorado: $210.7
7. Iowa: $81.9
8. Mississippi: $61.2
9. New Hampshire: $47.0
10. Michigan: $46.1
— Ben Fawkes (@BFawkes22) December 17, 2020
Remote registration for mobile sports wagering continues to be available in Illinois through Executive Order 2020-41, in which Gov. J.B. Pritzker suspended the in-person registration provision of the Sports Wagering Act he signed into law in June 2019. Pritzker initially issued the executive order in June and has renewed that Executive Order six times overall, most recently last Friday, and it has helped sports betting in the Land of Lincoln take off.
October’s mobile handle totaled nearly $409.8 million, an increase of nearly 45% from September. With retail casinos in Illinois operating at either 25% or 50% of capacity due to COVID-19 protocols throughout October, the mobile handle represented 94.3% of the overall handle. Since the IGB allowed casinos across the state to re-open July 1 at limited capacity, in-person wagering has represented just 7.2% of the handle — $67.2 million — from July 1-Oct. 31.
The 3-way tango for online handle supremacy continues
Much was made of the provision in the Sports Wagering Act that required online-only sportsbooks to wait 18 months to submit an application after the first retail sports wagering license was issued — it was widely considered a way for Illinois-based BetRivers via Rivers Casino to establish itself as the primary online player and create a dominant market share.
But between the pandemic and both DraftKings and FanDuel opting to find partners to enter the Illinois market long before the 18-month window closes in January 2022, it is clear a three-way tussle will determine the monthly “King of the Plains” for mobile sports wagering in Illinois.
DraftKings, in part aided by what seems to be a bottomless marketing budget to fill the airwaves in Chicago — on the opposite side of the state from their retail base at Casino Queen in East St. Louis — took top honors for October and generated nearly $138.5 million in online handle, which accounted for 33.8% of the overall total. FanDuel, which will eventually be moving its sports wagering license to Fairmount Park from Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria, reported an online handle of $105.2 million, edging out BetRivers ($101.5 million) for second.
In its first full month of operating online in Illinois, PointsBet claimed nearly 15% of the market with a handle just shy of $60.3 million. William Hill was a distant fifth at nearly $4.3 million, which was barely more than 1% of all online handle generated.
A betting state with online football and parlay obsessions
The monthly reports produced by the Illinois Gaming Board do not break out handle by pro and college for sports such as football and basketball, but do make clear bettors in the Land of Lincoln love wagering on football. They plunked down $191.4 million on such wagers in October, and sportsbooks did quite well on that action as they claimed nearly $13.5 million in revenue.
— George Elliott (@looseink) December 17, 2020
DraftKings paced the five mobile sportsbooks with more than $62.5 million in football wagers placed, with BetRivers ($53.4 million) and FanDuel ($46.5 million) rounding out the podium spots.
Illinois bettors are similar to their peers across the nation when it comes to the allure of parlay betting and its potentially higher payouts. The $98.1 million they wagered on such plays was the second-highest handle of any category offered, according to the IGB report, and 59.1% more than the second-highest sport, which was baseball ($61.7 million).
Here again, the sportsbooks proved formidable as they collected just shy of $15.9 million in revenue — their most in any one category. But Illinois bettors also appeared to have gone line-shopping online when it came to parlay wagering and took a liking to PointsBet’s offerings.
The Australian-based sportsbook generated a handle of nearly $35 million on such wagers to outpace FanDuel ($28.4 million) and DraftKings ($27.9 million) in that category. That accounted for nearly 58% of PointsBet’s mobile handle and nearly tripled its online football handle of about $12.4 million.
Those three mobile operators — William Hill did not report any online handle on parlays — dwarfed BetRivers, which totaled just under $5 million. That was less than it accepted for online wagers in both soccer ($8.9 million) and tennis ($6.9 million).