Combined revenue from Illinois sportsbooks delivered near-record figures in September. Throughout the month, sports betting operations led to a total of $596.5 million in wagers, just short of the all-time high of $633.6 million posted in March.
The positive figures were delivered after a slow summer and helped push US handle past $5 billion during September. Illinois sports betting revenue was $44.6 million, and operators had to pay $6.5 million in state and local taxes, according to official reports.
The surge in handle was largely fueled by football, a trend also seen in other US markets. In fact, sports betting handle for September marked a national record at $5.2 billion, and $411.9 million in revenue, even taking into account Arizona has not reported its full figures report for the month.
The $596.5 million in wagers in Illinois was up 95.4% versus September 2020 and 49% above from $400.4 million in August this year. Handle equated to about $19.9 million in bets per day, almost double the $10.2 million in wagers per day reported in September 2020.
Gross revenue rose 279.3%, from $11.8 million last year, while also up 36.3% from $32.7 million last August. Football, with the first three weekends of the NFL and a full month of college games played in the month, drew most of the wagers, at $230.6 million.
Illinois placed third in handle among all US states, only behind New Jersey ($1.01 billion, the first state to top $1B in handle in a single month) and Nevada (786.7 million). Since sports betting became legal in 2020, the state has generated $6.5 billion in wagers and $508.3 million in gross revenue.
As expected, online betting accounted for most of the September sports handle: 95.5%, a total $569.9 million. DraftKings and Casino Queen topped the state with $236.5 million in handle, online and retail combined.
Experts claim that, despite the encouraging Illinois figures, handle was still dampened by an in-person online registration rule. However, a bill has been sent to the governor which would put an end to this regulation. Should Gov. J.B. Pritzker sign it, Illinois could eventually surpass the March record this spring.
The in-person registration requirement had been temporarily suspended during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but resumed in April. It is now expected to be gone in time for the start of March Madness, one of the most important betting events on the sports calendar.