llinois bettors placed more than $285 million on sports events during September, which was the third full month the industry has been live in the state.
The Illinois Gaming Board released the September report on Friday, and it has yet to release October figures. The numbers top the Indiana handle of about $208 million in September and $231 million in October. Illinois’ other new neighboring markets drew bets totaling just $82 million in Iowa and $46 million in Michigan through October, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Industry analysts estimate Illinois could eventually rival Nevada with annual handles projected to top $5 billion within a few years. And since Illinois’ first bet was placed in early March, it’s seen exponential early growth, with monthly handles of about $53 million in July and $140 million in August, which is largely due to the advent of mobile betting. While the state law that legalized sports betting initially required gamblers to register for accounts in person at a casino, Gov. J.B. Pritzker eased that rule amid the pandemic, allowing bettors to register online from their phones — and start wagering immediately. He once again extended his executive order permitting remote signups for the fifth time this year, until Dec. 12. More than 92% of Illinois’ September bets were wagered from mobile devices.
Seven of the state’s casinos and one horse racing track — Hawthorne Race Course in Stickney — have licensed sportsbooks. Illinois’ most lucrative casino and its first to start taking sports bets, Rivers in Des Plaines, continued to lead the way in September, accepting about $105 million in wagers. But two other casinos that have partnered with mobile sports betting companies are quickly closing the gap. The newly christened DraftKings at Casino Queen in downstate East St. Louis handled about $92 million, while the Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria took about $75 million in bets through FanDuel.
Statewide, the sportsbooks came out on top by about $11 million on bets that were settled in September, generating about $1 million in state tax revenue with another $82,000 going to Cook County government. The industry has generated about $3 million in tax revenue in its first three full months.
Baseball so far has drawn the most interest from Illinois bettors (3.2 million bets totaling $133 million from June through September), though football is likely to overtake it soon (2.7 million bets totaling $92 million).