Illinois Sports Betting Sees $52.5 Million Wagered in July

Illinois Sports Betting Sees $52.5 Million Wagered in July
© USA Today

In its first full month of sports betting, Illinois in July took in $52.5 million in wagers even with professional sports sidelined and casinos limiting their capacity.

If Gov. JB Pritzker needs a good reason to extend his executive order that suspends in-person registration, he can see that 92% of the bets in July were placed online, according to figures posted Tuesday by the Illinois Gaming Board.

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The amount the sportsbooks keep after winnings were paid out (adjusted gross revenue) totaled $3.6 million, with the state getting 15% of that in taxes, amounting to about $544,000, the July figures showed. August numbers have not been posted on the board’s website.

Rivers Casino in Des Plaines reopened in late July after being shut down by the coronavirus pandemic for one week and took in over $29.4 million in handle, with more than 675,000 wagers placed. The Argosy Casino Alton, generated about $540,000 on-site in July.

The gaming board released the numbers a day prior to the Big 10 Conference announcing it would start its football season on Oct. 23.

Three of the top sports bet on in Illinois were baseball, soccer and golf, with two brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in operation, since in-person sports wagering went live on March 9. But they were shut down less than a week later.

Will Mobile Registration Continue?

On Aug. 21, Pritzker’s order that suspended in-person registration because of the coronavirus pandemic was reinstated. The latest order could end Saturday.

Pritzker could choose to extend it again because Illinois, like other states, is facing budget deficits. Pritzker first suspended the in-person requirement on June 4 because the 10 casinos in the state were closed. This allowed sports bettors to register and place bets when some sports returned in June.

The state now has five mobile sports betting apps after William Hill went live on Tuesday. It had opened a retail sportsbook in Illinois on Aug. 1 at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin before launching its mobile app in conjunction with the casino.

William Hill joined BetRivers (June 4), DraftKings (Aug. 5), FanDuel (Aug. 28) and PointsBet, went live on Saturday.

August Numbers Should Be Better

The numbers in August should only improve because three of the major sports leagues were back with games. MLB started its season July 23 and the NBA and NHL restarted their seasons on July 31 and Aug. 1, respectively.

The Cubs and White Sox currently lead their divisions with about a dozen games remaining before the MLB playoffs begin. Illinois is potentially one of the strongest sports betting markets in the country because of the population of Chicago and the city’s sports fans.

More brick-and-mortar locations will be listed in the August monthly report including two Hollywood casinos in Joliet and Aurora, the Par-A-Dice in East Peoria (operated by FanDuel) and Hawthorne, which also launched online betting through PointsBet last Saturday.

With the NFL and college football returning to the landscape, Illinois sports betting numbers should dramatically increase over the next few months.