February proved to be another big month for the sports betting industry in the state of Illinois, even though the overall numbers were down. Some states have already started to release its sports betting numbers for March, but the Illinois Gaming Board is always one of the last to report.
The total sports betting handle in Illinois for February was $509.8 million. This represented a decrease of nearly 13 percent after January set a new state record with close to $582 million.
February was a disappointing month for the entire US sports betting industry, and the drop in handle was expected by the Illinois Gaming Board. A shorter month and less NFL football were the two biggest reasons for the decline.
The mobile betting handle came in at $490.2 million, a drop of nearly 15 percent from January. Online betting is the most popular way to bet in the Land of Lincoln, even though retail betting showed the most significant increase.
In February, retail sports betting accounted for $19.6 million of the total handle, which was an increase of 210 percent from January.
Number Three Market in the US
The top-two biggest sports betting markets did not change in February, but Illinois was able to move into the number three slot. New Jersey ($743 million) and Nevada ($554 million) saw significant drops in sports betting handle in February but managed to stay ahead of Illinois.
Pennsylvania reported a total sports betting handle of $509.5 million in February, allowing Ilinois to jump them in the rankings. Michigan was able to become the fifth biggest sports betting industry in the US in February.
Revenue, Tax Numbers Down
Not only did the total sports betting handle drop for the month of February, but sports betting revenue and tax dollars went down as well. This is typically the case when the handle sees a sharp decline, but sportsbooks could not have a very successful February.
The sports betting revenue in Illinois was $35.4 million after it was nearly $48 million during January. The state collected just $5.9 million in tax revenue, a decrease of almost 24 percent from January.
Expect Big Drop in April
Illinois has become a major player in the US sports betting industry, but that is not expected to last for long now that a change in registration policies is in place. In-person registration is now required for new sports betting accounts, which will have a tremendous impact on the overall numbers.
Governor J.B. Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-41 in June 2020, which allowed for remote registration to take place in the sports betting industry. Pritzker continued to extend that order for several months but eventually let it expire at the beginning of April.
The governor is expected to keep a close eye on the overall numbers and could opt to put remote registration back in place if a significant decline occurs.