The Illinois Gaming Board has finally released the December sports betting totals, and it was another excellent month for the state. Total sports betting handle in December was $491.7 million, which set another record for the state.
This figure from December represented an increase of nearly 10 percent from the $449.2 million registered in November. Illinois has established a trend of setting new sports betting handle records each month, and this trend will likely continue into 2021.
All of the sports betting in Illinois in December came from online sportsbooks as retail casinos remained closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Illinois should go over the $500 million mark for the betting handle when retail sports betting is another option for bettors.
Governor J.B. Pritzker has once again extended his Executive Order, which allows for remote registration to take place in the state. With the 2021 NCAA Tournament set to begin in less than a month, March could prove to be one of the best months yet for the state.
Some states have already started to announce January sports betting totals, but Illinois is always more than a month behind.
Still Coming in Fourth
While Illinois continues to post impressive numbers for total sports betting handle, the state is still sitting as the fourth largest market in the United States. Illinois has started to close the gap on Pennsylvania, as that state is currently the third-largest market.
In December, Pennsylvania totaled $548.6 million in total betting handle, which was a new state record. Nevada was second on the list with over $588 million in betting handle, but in November, the state went over $600 million.
New Jersey is still the largest sports betting market in the U.S., nearing $1 billion in the monthly betting handle. These four states are expected to continue to lead the U.S. industry in 2021.
Revenue Decreases in December
While sports betting handle went up in December, the total sports betting revenue decreased by 42%. Revenue was just $23.87 million in December, while it was over $41.2 million during November.
This sharp decrease in revenue hurt the state in terms of tax revenue as well, as Illinois was only able to collect $3.82 million. Illinois is hurting financially from the COVID-19 pandemic and needs all of the funds it can get.
Barstool Set to Launch
The Illinois sports betting market has not had a new sportsbook launch since September 2020, but that should change within a month. Penn National Gaming has announced that its Barstool Sportsbook is targeting a launch in Illinois.
The Illinois Gaming Board has given initial approval to Barstool Sportsbook, but the online site and mobile app are not yet ready to launch. Penn National is targeting a launch date before March 15 as the NCAA Tournament is set to begin that week.
Barstool Sportsbook is currently available only in Pennsylvania and Michigan, but Michigan proved to be a huge success. This sportsbook could quickly become a popular option in Illinois after launch.