Illinois bettors wagered $61.8m between March and August

The Illinois Gaming Board has released its first set of sports betting figures.

The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) published its first set of sports betting figures revealing that bettors in the state wagered $61.8m on sports since 9 March, when the state’s sports betting market went live.

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic

Illinois’ sports betting market was significantly hit by the coronavirus pandemic which caused casinos to close from 16 March. With casinos closed, and online betting not going live until 18 June, no bets were placed between 16 March and 18 June.

The state’s sports betting laws require customers to register online betting accounts in person for the first 18 months of legal betting. While land-based venues did not reopen until 1 July, in June, Governor JB Pritzker issued an Executive Order which suspended the in-person registration requirement, this allowed residents to create sports betting accounts remotely without having to visit one of the state’s casinos.

This Executive Order was allowed to lapse which meant that residents would have to visit land-based casino sportsbooks to sign up for online betting. However, the Governor reinstated the order on 21 August as coronavirus cases continued to rise in across the state of Illinois.

It is not yet clear whether Pritzker will extend the suspension of in-person registration beyond 19 September.

Breaking down the figures

The Illinois regulator only released sports betting handle figures for each month since the state’s betting market went live. These figures were broken down into professional and collegiate sports and then by the two tiers of legal betting.

Tier one bets include win-lose propositions while tier two wagers are bets determined by in-game events such as individual player performance.

In March, Illinois bettors wagered $754,739 on sporting events. Tier one bets on professional sports accounted for $600,150 of bets with $596,912 being bet at Rivers Des Plaine’s land-based sportsbook and just $3,238 being staked at Argosy Casino Alton. March also saw $62,405 staked on tier two markets during March all being placed at Rivers. A total of 10,728 bets were placed on professional events.

In regard to Collegiate events, bettors wagered $269,923 on tier one bets on college sporting events all at Rivers. In total, 2,290 bets were placed on these events.

With no legal bets being placed between 16 March and 18 June, Rivers customers bet $8.3m via the operator’s online sportsbook before the end of June. This was the only legal online betting option available during this period.

June’s handle broke down to $4.8m being wagered on tier one professional sports and $3.5m on tier two markets. On top of this $2,197 was bet on tier one college markets at a time when college sporting events were either cancelled or suspended.

In July, betting handle soared to $52.5m after the state’s casinos reopened and sporting events around the world resumed.

Illinois bettors wagered $3m on tier one pro sports in-person, with $2.5m coming from Rivers and $557,726 being wagered at Argosy Casino Alton. Another $980,484 was wagered on tier two markets which breaks down to $928,605 from Rivers and $51,879 from Argosy.

The Rivers online sportsbook was the standout performance in its first full month of operation after bettors wagered $27m on tier one professional sports markets in July and $21.5m on tier two bets.

Looking at collegiate sports in July bettors wagered $1,923 on tier one markets and only $20 was wagered on tier two markets.

More operators active in Illinois

Following on from the end of the reporting period in the IGB’s reports, the state’s sports betting market has seen significant growth with several new operators launching across the state between August and September.

On 5 August, DraftKings, which is partnered with Casino Queen in East St Louis launched its land-based and mobile sports betting products. 

FanDuel, via its partnership with Boyd Gaming’s Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria, launched online and land-based operations on 1 September. PointsBet also launched in the state on 14 September, via a deal with Hawthorne Racecourse.

Today, William Hill became the latest operator to enter the Illinois sports betting market via a partnership with Caesars Entertainment’s Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin.

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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