Illinois betting handle hits record $451m in November

Illinois’ legal and regulated sportsbooks processed a record number of wagers in November 2020.

The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) has revealed that sports betting handle in the state of Illinois hit a new record in November, despite the closure of land-based venues partway through the month.

Although the IGB has yet to publish its full figures for the month, board administrator Marcus Fruchter updated members during a meeting held yesterday afternoon

During the meeting, it was revealed that sportsbooks in the state processed $451m in sports wagers in November, an increase on the $434.6m wagered in October.

Despite the increase in betting handle sports betting revenue saw a minuscule month-on-month drop to $41m in November. In terms of tax revenue, sportsbooks paid $6m to the state in November.

Figures impacted by land-based closures

During the meeting, Fruchter did not outline any other details about Illinois’ sports betting performance in November, but he did point out that handle and revenue were impacted by the temporary closure of venues in the state.

In mid-November, land-based casinos in Illinois were forced to temporarily close their doors to the public under the states’ coronavirus measures. This meant that for the second half of November, all betting activity had to take place online.

To help offset the impact of the venue closures, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed another Executive Order allowing bettors in the state to create online sports betting accounts remotely from anywhere within the state.

Under state law, bettors are required to register their online sports betting accounts in-person at one of the state’s land-based casino sportsbooks. However, this provision was suspended on several occasions in 2020.

The current Executive Order permitting online sportsbook registration is set to expire on 6 February.

Sports betting in Illinois

In July 2019, Pritzker signed Illinois’ gambling expansion bill into law, making Illinois the fifth state to legalize sports betting in 2019. As well as legalizing sports betting, the bill allowed for the launch of six new land-based casinos and a large casino venue in Chicago.

The Illinois sports betting market went live on 9 March with the launch of a BetRivers-branded sportsbook at Rivers Casino Des Plaines.  Online sports betting went live in the state when BetRivers launched its online sports betting platform on 18 June through Rivers Casino des Plaines.

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