Illinois’ sports betting volume in July fell to its lowest level in the state since September 2020 with $369m in online and retail wagering, according to PlayIllinois, which tracks the state’s regulated online gaming and sports betting market.
While July is usually the slowest betting month in every major US sports betting market, the Prairie State’s in-person registration requirements could diminish its football-fueled ramp up that other states will enjoy.
Joe Boozell, lead analyst for PlayIllinois.com, stated: “Illinois sportsbooks will not be able to take full advantage of the customer acquisition phase that comes with the beginning of every football season, which is vital for the growth of the industry.
“Because in-person registration was reinstated in April at the beginning of the slow season in sports betting, the industry has skirted the most severe effects of the state rule. But there will be no hiding from it during football season.”
According to official data, bettors made $369.1m in wagers at Illinois’ sportsbooks in July, down 22.5% from June’s $476.5m. Day-by-day pace of betting fell to $11.9m (June: $15.9m). Handle was up 603% from $52.5m in July 2020.
Gross gaming revenue fell 22.6% to $37.3m (June: $48.2m), producing $37.6m in adjusted gross revenue, and yielding $6.1m in taxes. At 10.1%, the market’s hold, which is the percentage sportsbooks keep after paying out winning bets, remains relatively high.
July has been the slowest betting month of the year in the US in years past (2018 and 2019). Illinois remained number three in terms of betting volume during the month despite the slowdown, beaten only by New Jersey ($578.7m) and Nevada ($409.9m).
Eric Ramsey, analyst for the PlayUSA.com network, which includes PlayIllinois.com, said: “July features fewer prime betting opportunities and casual bettors are more occupied with vacations and other activities, and there isn’t much sportsbooks can do about that.
“Illinois sportsbooks have done well by increasing their hold over the summer months, which puts operators in a good position as casual bettors return.”
The sport that received the most bets during the month was baseball, drawing $124m in July (June: $126.7m). Olympics betting was also possible for the first time during the month, but it did not draw widespread interest.
Ramsey added: “With events held in the middle of the night in many cases and sports that are a bit unfamiliar to bettors, the Olympics did not appear to draw a lot of wagering. In the end, the traditional team sports are still by far the largest draw for bettors, which is why football is so important for sportsbooks.”
July’s wagering included $351.4m in online bets, which was 95.2% of the wagers made. DraftKings/Casino Queen came out on top with $122.7m in combined online and retail handle, including $120.5m online. In all, DraftKings generated $9.5m in gross gaming revenue.
FanDuel accepted $118.5m in online and retail wagers, $118m of which came online, resulting in a market-topping $15.5m in gross gaming revenue.
Boozell concluded: “FanDuel continues to wring out an impressive amount of revenue from the bets it takes in. DraftKings answered with Same Game Parlays, which could help bridge the revenue gap with FanDuel.
“That fierce competition between the two market leaders will only grow during football season, with younger operators limited in their ability to make significant gains on the leaders with in-person registration in place.”