Illinois broke another sports betting record in November by posting $450 million in handle to become the fourth-largest market in the US. The top three national leaders for the month were New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, with the highest sports betting handles.
According to the report released by the Illinois Gaming Board Wednesday, the November handle ($450 million) represented a slight increase from the Prairie State’s previous best achieved a month ago in October ($434.6 million). With the November report, Illinois becomes the fourth state in the history of US sports betting to post a month with more than $450 million in wagers. Additionally, these figures catapult the national total for the month to another record of almost $3.5 billion, as November became the second straight month the US saw a handle north of $3.2 billion.
Illinois is the last US state to release its November report. In fact, many states have already published their December reports. But Illinois law prescribes to deliver wagering reports 45 days after monthly figures are reported. The IGB said Wednesday it was still counting results and had not posted them on the official website. These numbers are extracted from a snapshot provided by Administrator Marcus Fruchter.
Illinois bettors placed more than $450 million in wagers in November, which is up almost 4% from $434.6 million in October. Only New Jersey and Nevada, and Pennsylvania, with $931.6 million, $609.4 million, and $492 million, respectively, generated greater handles during November 2020. These wagers placed by Illinois bettors generated $41 million in adjusted gross revenue for the sportsbooks, with a 9.17% hold rate, and the 15% tax rate on that GRR extracted nearly $6.15 million for the state. In October, the state saw nearly $6.8 million in taxes.
The Prairie State became the sixth state overall to top the $1 billion threshold for sports betting handle since launch, achieving the milestone eight months after taking its first bet in March. It is also phenomenal monthly performance considering New Jersey did not cross $450 million in handle until its 17th month after going live. It took Pennsylvania 23 months to reach the mark.
Remote Registration Helps Figures Soar
One explanation for November’s success was thanks to the suspension of the in-person registration requirements. Last summer, Pritzker suspended the law requiring Illinois sports bettors to visit a casino to register their online betting accounts. The Executive Order 2020-41 has since been renewed on several occasions, making it clear that the sports betting numbers in Illinois continue to impress as Gov. JB Pritzker. The latest extension was made on January 8, a day before the last extension was set to expire. This order will expire on February 6. However, given Novembers latest figures, it will most likely be extended again ahead of the Super Bowl LV, the largest individual sports betting event of a calendar year, set to kick off February 7.
Aside from the suspension of in-person registration requirements, another aspect that has contributed to additional interest in sports betting is the regional sports, mainly the Chicago Bears and Notre Dame.
Illinois, A Maturing Market
Despite there being a lot to help boost November’s figures, the market is still not in its prime. Without baseball and NBA Finals, and with Bears going 0-4 in the month, November offered fewer choices to bettors than they had in October. Additionally, physical sportsbooks were forced to close in November due to the pandemic-related measures. Besides, there are only five online operators who are currently live in Illinois.
According to analyst Joe Boozell, it made sense to adjust our expectations for the Illinois market. Despite the shutting down of the retail market in November, sportsbooks still made progress. “Such resilience reflects that Illinois is maturing faster than anyone imagined.” With retail sportsbooks closed for the second half of November, online sports betting accounted for the dominant majority of all handle. However, specific operator figures were not immediately released.