Illinois September Update
Illinois passed sports betting legislation almost a year and a half ago now, and the first sports betting took place in March of 2020. The numbers for September sports betting are in, and they are looking amazing for Illinois. Now sitting as the 4th largest betting handle in the United States, they brought in $305 million in wagers. To put this number into perspective, the total betting handle for the United States was $2.9 billion, meaning that Illinois and its population of a bit over 10 million people accounted for 10.5% of all wagers in the United States.
Illinois’ market is growing. As the country hopefully moves past the pandemic, as news of vaccines and treatments start to sprinkle in, this is only the beginning for Illinois betting. The fact that this handle is being reached during the middle of a pandemic is crazy to think about.
Sportsbooks in Illinois saw revenue of $6.8 million in September, a solid 2.3% of the handle. This may sound low, but in such a new state, many sportsbooks are competing for the largest piece of the market. This means that we are seeing ridiculously competitive odds pricing and promotions for the users in Illinois.
Illinois Sportsbook Market
BetRivers holds the current lead in sports handle; however, the top sportsbooks’ margins are ridiculously small. DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetRivers are all near $100 million in betting handle and account for almost 95% of the market. This makes sense considering that all three offer top of the line mobile and online sports betting options, which is the best way to play with Covid-19 ravaging the country.
It was confirmed that over 90% of the handle came in via mobile wagering. However, that number still surprises me. With Illinois being hit harder this month with the pandemic, I expect to see this number jump to near 100% very soon. It will be interesting to see if mobile wagering simply replaces physical wagering or if that part of the market disappears, meaning that we see a retraction in the growth of the sports handle in Illinois.
How Big Can the Market Get
We see that Nevada and New Jersey received over $500 million and $700 million in sports wagering handles in September. While both of these states are known for gambling and have a large tourist scene, the pandemic is hitting those markets hard. Therefore, there is no reason that a much more populous state in Illinois cannot reach those types of numbers. Pennsylvania, for example, hit over $450 million in September.
I believe that once Illinois’ economy normalizes over the following year and betting expands due to more people signing up and knowing about it, Illinois could easily hit both of these milestones. The NFL season will always be the biggest month for sports betting. So, it will be fascinating to compare the data between the 2020 and 2021 September handle to see the growth. My money will be on the doubling if not tripling of the sports handle for Illinois 12 months removed from today. However, no matter what, it is almost a guarantee to see growth in this new market.