Illinois Sports Betting Remains No.2 Despite Return to In-Person Registration

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Despite returning to in-person registration, Illinois posted more than $500 million in May handle to maintain its second position in the US sports betting. New Jersey is the top market handle-wise.

According to numbers released Tuesday by the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB), the state’s sportsbooks reported $507.3 million in May handle, representing a 5.6% decline from April’s $537.2 million.

The month of May marked the fifth-straight month for the Prairie State’s sportsbooks to report more than $500 million in handle. However, its $507.3 million handle was the lowest since December, when the state’s sportsbook saw nearly $491.7 million in bets.

Illinois is the 10th state to report a handle decline in May, the second straight month for Illinois sports betting as the second-largest market.

Mobile handle accounted for 95.1% of the total handle in May, slightly down from April’s 95.5%.

Revenue Details

Illinois sports betting revenue also dipped to $36.2 million, down nearly 17% from April’s $43.6 million, according to the IGB. The hold average for May was 7.1% compared to April’s 8.1%.

The Prairie State drew $5.9 million in taxes, bringing the total tax revenue to $53.3 million since Illinois sports betting launched in March 2020.

Cook County – the state’s largest county by population – raised $419,670 in taxes from almost $21 million in adjusted gross revenue (AGR) on bets placed within the county. The county has reported nearly $2.4 million in tax revenue from sports betting in 2021.

Illinois, Second-Largest Market Again

It is surprising that Illinois sports betting remained almost unaffected by the return of in-person sports betting requirements in April, which was the first time the state became the No. 2 market nationally.

The month of May repeated the trend, which saw New Jersey sports betting leading with $814.27 million in handle, leaving the second spot for the Illinois market, thanks to its $507.3 million.

Nevada sports betting was the third with $477.2 million for the same period, while Pennsylvania’s market reported $447.4 million in total handle in May.

Michigan, a new market that went live in January, took in nearly $258 million in total sports bets in May, while Indiana’s sportsbooks reported $254 million in handle. It was a few million more than Colorado sports betting, which took in nearly $249 million in handle.

DraftKings Ruled Illinois Market in May

DraftKings took in $166.2 million – or 34.5% of online handle share – to lead Illinois sports betting in May. However, the rival FanDuel, which led the market in April, reported $155.6 million – or 32.2% of the online handle.

BetRivers was a distant third with 15.9% of digital handle share – or $76.7 million.

The duopoly of the giant operators rendered the fourth position to Barstool Sportsbook, with just $38.2 million in the mobile handle, with PointsBet chasing with $37.4 million.

Though the New York-based operator could not retain its top position in May, FanDuel generated more than half of all digital operator revenue for the month, totaling more than $19 million. Of parlay wagering, which attracted $110 million worth of bets, FanDuel accounted for almost half at $54.4 million.

Boston-based DraftKings reported $6.5 million in revenue, down 43% it reported in April.

Meanwhile, BetRivers generated nearly $4.7 million in operator revenue, down 34.5% from April’s $7.1 million.

In-Person Registration Returns to Illinois Market

May also marked the first full month without remote registration in the Prairie State. Through much of the pandemic that began to hit the US sports betting since last March, Gov. JB Pritzker had suspended the requirement that new bettors register in-person at a physical sportsbook’s casino partner in the state.

That temporary relief was withdrawn in early April, leaving industry analysts to speculate gloomy scenarios.

Mobile handle for May was $482.6 million, dipping 6% from April’s $513 million. Despite a slight decline, the mobile handle still accounted for 95% of the total Illinois sports betting handle reported in May.

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