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Illinois Sets Record Handle With In Person Registrations Gone For Good

The March statistics are in for Illinois, and the state shattered all previous records for handle since sports betting was launched in 2020. The surge likely comes from the March 5th removal of the requirement that bettors register in person before wagering using an online sports betting platform. 

Illinois Sets Record Handle With In Person Registrations Gone For Good

Online sports betting generates record setting handle

March was the best month in history for Illinois sportsbooks. Collectively, they took $973.1 million in wagers during the month, with more than 95% of the handle coming in via online platforms. The number represented a 43% increase over the $679.4 million that books handled in February, and a 12% increase over the state’s previous high of $867.5 million set in January of 2022.

While the wildly popular NCAA Tournament makes March a traditionally strong month for sportsbooks, the large increase is most likely due to online operators no longer being required to have new customers register in person before placing wagers online. The restriction on online registrations expired on March 5th, well timed for March Madness bettors, and made it possible for bettors in Illinois to get their money down on the big dance tourney as conveniently as possible.

Record setting hold to go with record-setting handle

In addition to the biggest month in the state’s history for handle, the sportsbooks won big in March as they held $79.4 million, or 8.2% of the handle. The hold just edged out the previous high of $78.2 million set in November of 2021. The number allowed the sportsbooks to contribute $9.8 million in tax revenue to the state. More than $554 million was bet on basketball games, with $350.8 million of that total coming from college basketball, highlighting the popularity of the NCAA tourney.

FanDuel was the market share leader among the state’s many sportsbooks. The operator took in $310.7 million in total handle, and beat the state’s average hold by hanging on to 8.7%. DraftKings was hot on their heels, taking in $284.2 million in handle, but DraftKings bettors were much more successful as DraftKings held just 4.9% to generate $13.9 million in revenue compared to the $27 million FanDuel generated with only a slightly larger handle. BetMGM waited until the in person registration requirement was lifted to launch their sportsbook, but they still managed to generate $43.6 million in handle in their first 26 days of operations in Illinois.

Will the Illinois handle continue to grow?

The summer season typically shows a slowdown from the peak winter and spring betting centered around the Super Bowl and March Madness. However, with the unrestricted online marketplace still relatively new in the state, there is still massive growth potential as the top online sportsbooks continue to acquire customers for online gambling in Illinois. Two new online sportsbooks, Caliente Interactive and Circa Sports, have received online only licenses and are expected to begin operations soon.

Caesars Sportsbook launched an overhauled version of their online platform in March, and nearly doubled their previous best month in Illinois with a handle of $39.2 million. With the marketplace still growing and all books reporting record setting numbers, it seems that there is still plenty of room for the Illinois sports betting market to grow. Who knows? Off the back of this success, we might even see online casinos in Illinois becoming a reality in the near future.

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