Illinois’ sports betting market has recorded meteoric growth since it launched earlier this year. After the Illinois Gaming Board released October’s revenue numbers, it’s official: The Prairie State is the fourth-largest market in the nation.
While handlers put down $305 million in wagers on sports in September, 2020, that number jumped an incredible 43% month on month. Gamblers made wagers of $435 million in October.
Sportsbooks made around $42 million in October, meaning that the state coffers enjoyed an income of $6.3 million.
Looking at these numbers, it’s easy to believe analysts’ predictions that the state’s yearly handle could reach $5 billion when the industry matures. The first legal bet was placed in March this year, ironically a few days before COVID-19 shut down the nation’s economy and the majority of sporting events.
Despite the pandemic, sports betting fans in Illinois have bet more than $941 million this year alone – and not all the 2020 numbers have been reported yet.
Although Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Nevada are ahead of Illinois when it comes to sports betting handle, Illinois’ market has grown faster than all of theirs.
New Jersey currently leads the nation’s sports betting industry. The Garden State took in a record-breaking $932 million in sports bets in November.
Analysts put Illinois impressive growth down to the perfect storm – a combination of casinos closed because of COVID-19 and the Governor’s suspension of a requirement that players register in person at a casino before they can place wagers online.
October and November produced a packed sporting calendar, meaning that players had their pick of events. In October, Illinoians bet $62 million on baseball, $29 million on soccer and $18 million on basketball, among others.
It’s expected that online sports betting numbers will continue to grow as the state’s casinos remain closed because of increased COVID-19 restrictions, and players seek corona-friendly gambling activities.