Illinois Posts 2nd Highest April Sports Betting Handle in US

Illinois Posts 2nd Highest April Sports Betting Handle in US
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Illinois was poised for a sports betting drop-off after it had a record March and remote registration for new sports bettors ended in early April.

Across the country, April sports betting handles fell after receiving a boost from March Madness. It was also the first month Illinois was without remote registration. Gov. JB Pritzker elected not to renew remote registration beginning April 2, forcing new Illinois bettors to register in-person at a sportsbook’s casino partner in the state.

The result was an Illinois sports betting handle of $537.2 million, down 15.2% from March’s $633.6 million, according to figures posted by the Illinois Gaming Board on Wednesday. With Illinois the last state to report its April numbers, the total sports handle for the country was $3.7 billion, down 20% from $4.6 billion in March. April was the first month since December that the U.S. didn’t eclipse $4 billion in total sports betting handle.

Despite the decrease in handle, Illinois managed to post the second-highest sports betting total in the country for April. Only New Jersey at $747.9 million recorded a higher handle, while Pennsylvania ($479.4 million) and Nevada ($457.8 million) trailed.

In Illinois, the sports betting revenue was $43.6 million, a decrease of 1.6% from March’s $44.3 million. The state’s sports betting tax came to $7.1 million, down 1.2% from March’s $7.2 million. Nationally, revenue was down 17.6% from $310.9 million in March to $256.1 million in April.

Online was still the most popular market in Illinois, taking in $513.2 million worth of bets, down 15.7% from March’s total of $609 million. The retail sports betting handle was $23.9 million for April, down 2.6% from March’s handle of $24.6 million.

Illinois Sports Betting Handle, April vs. March

Total handleMobile HandleRetail Handle
April$537.159M$513.246M$23.913M
March$633.615M$609.045M$24.570M
ChangeDown 15.2% Down 15.7%Down 2.6%

Illinois Rises Nationally

The Illinois April handle of $537.18 million put it second nationally for the first time. Here is how the top states ended in April:

  • New Jersey’s April handle of $748 million was a decline of 13% from March’s $859.6 million, but it was still enough to pace the nation.
  • Pennsylvania had a handle of $479.4 million in April, a 14.4% drop from March’s $560.3 million, but enough to move it ahead of Nevada.
  • Nevada’s handle of $458.2 million was down about 28.5% from March’s handle of $640.98 million, dropping it behind Pennsylvania.

  • Michigan had $274.2 million in total sports handle, a 28.5% decline from March.
  • Colorado’s April handle came in at $244.4 million, down 18.3% from March’s $300.1 million.
  • Indiana had a sports betting handle of $236.4 million for the month, down from March’s $316.7 million. That was a 25% drop.

College Sports Betting Bill Passes

Illinois residents might be able to wager on local colleges in the future. On June 1, an amendment to Senate Bill 521 that would allow Illinoisans to place sports bets on in-state college teams was passed by the House.

The bill would require bettors who want to place a wager on an in-state Illinois team to do so in-person at any of the state’s retail sportsbooks. Bets on Illinois teams can only be “Tier 1” wagers, meaning the bet is “determined solely by the final outcome” of a contest, and it must have been placed before the start of the game. Wagering on individual player props is banned.

If the provision is approved by the Senate, it would run through July 1, 2023, under a two-year trial basis. The amendment passed the House with a 96-11 vote but still needs approval from the Senate before it can go to Pritzker to be signed.

Construction Begins for DraftKings at Casino Queen

The new DraftKings Sportsbook at Casino Queen in East St. Louis is now under construction.

DraftKings announced that it broke ground on the estimated $10 million expansion project, which will include a DraftKings sportsbook and a new dining promenade that will include a three-outlet food court and a full-service restaurant. The updated 30,000 square feet facility will be located at 200 S. Front St. along the Mississippi River.

“Sports wagering has greatly elevated Illinois gaming and we are creating an environment at DraftKings at Casino Queen to capture that excitement,” Terry Downey, president and CEO of Casino Queen, said in a news release. “Through our partnership with DraftKings, a cutting-edge sportsbook, and exceptional new dining experiences, we will soon offer a gaming destination that is unmatched in this region.”

The new sportsbook will be located near the casino floor and will feature a contemporary design and the latest sports betting technology. Inside the sportsbook will be oversized high-definition TVs and new plush, lounge-style seating.

JCJ Architecture is leading the construction of the facility. JCJ has led gaming and hospitality projects across the U.S. and internationally.

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