Illinois has emerged as the fifth largest US legal sports betting market after online and retail sportsbooks attracted $140.1m in bets in August. The state’s rapid ascent comes despite inconsistent and tenuous in-person registration rules, and without the largest operator in the country for much of the month, according to PlayIllinois analysts.
The $140.1m wagered in August was up 167% from $52.5m in July, more than Colorado‘s $128.6m in August, but less than neighboring Indiana‘s $169m. August’s bets produced $7.2m in adjusted gross revenue statewide, which yielded $1.2m in taxes.
“August’s results are a testament to just how lucrative a market Illinois truly can be,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayIllinois.com. “In-person registration was stunting growth, and that ended on August 21. And FanDuel did not launch until the end of the month. Even with that, Illinois found itself ahead of Colorado, which has matured much more quickly, and on the heels of Indiana, the country’s fourth-largest market.”
Without football, Illinois’ strong August performance came almost entirely on the power of the Major League Baseball, NBA, and NHL games. It was helped by remote registration, which allows bettors to sign up for an account without ever physically appearing at a state sportsbook, for the last 10 days of the month.
“The NFL will generate far more interest, and with mobile registration back for all of September, the pool of bettors will certainly grow significantly,” Gouker added. “August is really just a first taste of what Illinois can do as a market.”
BetRivers/Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, which had a significant head start on its competition, was by far the state’s largest revenue producer. BetRivers/Rivers Casino accepted $118m in online and retail bets, yielding $6.3m in adjusted gross revenue.
DraftKings, the nation’s number two online sportsbook, operating under the Casino Queen license in Illinois, drew in $13.1m in online bets. Rival FanDuel, the nation’s number one, which is partnering with Par-A-Dice Casino, attracted $4.2m in bets after launching on August 28.
“BetRivers’ head start is a massive advantage that both FanDuel and DraftKings will have to try to overcome,” Gouker said. “But they are the two largest operators for numerous reasons, and it will be interesting to watch how long it will take for those two to eat into BetRivers’ market lead.”