Illinois fastest to $5bn in lifetime handle despite slower June wagering

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Wagering at Illinois sportsbooks slowed in June to below $500m for the first time since December 2020 despite a surge in revenue, as the impact of summer’s sports calendar and in-person registration requirements continued to be felt. 

While the Prairie State remains in line with trends seen in most major US markets, it still managed to reach $5bn in lifetime handle quicker than any market in US history according to analysts from PlayIllinois, which tracks the state’s regulated online gaming and sports betting market. 

The state’s retail and online sportsbooks took in $476.5m in wagers in June, down 6.1% from $507.3m in May – its lowest handle since sportsbooks collected $449.2m in November 2020. The day-by-day pace of betting slowed to $15.9m over the 30 days of June, which was down from $16.9m per day in May.

“Illinois sportsbooks is very much continuing down the same path as most major US markets in June, with revenue surging despite the seasonal headwinds working to keep handle down,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for the network, which includes “Fortunately for them, sportsbooks only have to endure one more month of sluggish action before the fall sports season reignites the industry.”

The month’s handle placed Illinois No. 3 in the US in June, behind New Jersey ($766.9m) and Nevada ($545.5m), but ahead of Pennsylvania ($420.2m). More impressively, though, June’s handle pushed the lifetime total for the state to $5.1bn. Illinois is just the fourth state to reach $5bn, and the state’s sportsbooks did it in 16 months, breaking New Jersey’s record of 18 months.

“Even with all the twists and turns over the last year, namely the back-and-forth with in-person registration requirements and pandemic restrictions, Illinois continues to break new ground,” said Joe Boozell, analyst for “Illinois bettors remain highly engaged, keeping the state entrenched among the nation’s sports betting heavyweights like Nevada and New Jersey.”

As June’s handle fell, gross gaming revenue rose 31.8% to $48.2m from $36.6m in May. That is the third highest revenue total in state history, only surpassed by the record $49.9m set in March and $49.4m in January. July’s gross revenue produced $47.5m in adjusted gross revenue, yielding $7.7m in state and local taxes. The revenue jump is a product of the way bettors tend to engage with summer sports.

Basketball remained the top sport, attracting $126.9m in bets, which was down from $154.3m in wagering in May. Baseball betting remained relatively flat, producing $126.7m in bets, up from $126.1m in May.

Meanwhile, parlay bets swelled to $101.1m in bets, generating $22.8m in revenue for sportsbooks. Tennis jumped to $40.3m in wagers from $32.6m in May.

“Bettors interact with individual sports like golf and tennis differently than major US team sports like football, placing more futures bets and single-game parlay bets that carry lower odds to win,” Ramsey said. “For sportsbooks those bets are particularly important during the summer when volume drops. And it puts sportsbooks in an excellent position as football season approaches.” 

$451.7m, or 94.8%, of June’s bets were made online. DraftKings/Casino Queen remained in the market lead with $160.2m in combined online and retail handle, down from $170.1m in May. June’s handle included $157.1m of online bets and $14m in gross gaming revenue.

FanDuel’s online and retail sportsbooks attracted $156.3m in bets in June, which was flat from May. The month’s bets, $155.3m of which came online, generated a market-leading $20.3m in gross gaming revenue.

BetRivers/Rivers Casino rose to $83.2m in combined handle, including $71.2m in online wagering. That led to $7.5m in gross gaming revenue.