Illinois Sets New Record, Approaches Half-A-Billion Wagered On Sports In December

Written By Joe Boozell on February 16, 2021Last Updated on February 22, 2021
illinois sports betting dec 2020

In December, Illinois sportsbooks recorded bets totaling$ 491.7 million, breaking still another quarterly report for the state.

In comparison to November, when sportsbooks reported a handle of $449.2 million, there’s an increase of $42.5 million.

Operators of sports betting accumulated $28.4 million, which amounted to $3.6 million in tax revenue for the state. Casinos held 5.8% of the total handle.

Illinois maintained its position as the fourth leading state in sports betting in the US. Pennsylvania ranked third, recording a December handle of $548.6 million.

Illinois is making progress in Pennsylvania, and it seems likely that it will swiftly ascend to the top, potentially reaching the third spot soon.

What is the most likely reason for the month-over-month increase in control? There was a more active timeline of activities in December.

Besides the NFL, December 2020 also saw the college football bowl season. College basketball was active throughout the month, and the NBA season kicked off on December 22.

In contrast, college basketball only took place in the final week of November when there was no NBA. Additionally, bowl games tend to draw more betting activity compared to regular college football games.

Consequently, out of the total handle of $491.7 million, college sports collectively contributed $167.2 million. This was the highest figure ever recorded in Illinois, representing 34%.

Currently, residents of Illinois are unable to place bets on their own collegiate teams. Nonetheless, a recent bill could alter this rule by the conclusion of 2021.

December profits for Illinois sportsbooks

This is a list of all sportsbooks in Illinois along with their numbers for December.

DraftKings $ 195.4 million
FanDuel $ 144.4 million.
BetRivers 11.2 million
PointsBet $ 32,000,000
Hill, William $ 8.6 million
Alton’s Argosy Casino N/A
Joliet at the Hollywood Casino N/A
Aurora Hollywood Casino N/A

DraftKings once more took the lead in handle, with FanDuel and BetRivers securing the second and third positions respectively. A significant gap was seen between the third and fourth spots.

For the first time, FanDuel finished ahead of BetRivers in tackle.

Just to keep you informed, all wholesale casinos were shut down for the whole of December. Despite online gambling being significantly more popular, it only marginally impacts the overall control.

For example, in October, sportsbooks in Illinois received $24.8 million in bets. However, this figure fell to $15.5 million in November when there was a surge in COVID-19 cases in Illinois.

The amount dropped to zero in December. Hence, when projecting the future total for Illinois, it is probably reasonable to incorporate an additional $25 million or so to account for retail betting.

Casinos resumed operations towards the end of January, consequently, we may not witness a significant impact in the upcoming report. However, the difference is expected to be noticeable from February onwards.

We already know that Illinois won $45.6 million from Super Bowl bets, making the report for February’s earnings interesting in several aspects.

When does Illinois see the arrival of new users?

It’s been about five months since a new online casino was launched in Illinois.

New operators would also back the cause, despite the control still widening due to market maturity. Illinois consumers have considerably less choices compared to those in similar states due to the presence of only five online sportsbooks.

Penn National Gaming CEO, Jay Snowden, has indicated that at least one more sportsbook, Barstool, is set to launch soon. The timing is planned to coincide with March Madness, a few weeks from now, with a specific target to go live in Illinois.

That statement is never the ultimate one of all. Yet, now that Penn has its license, there are no more governmental hurdles to surmount.

The BetMGM Illinois sportsbook and Unibet sports app intend to debut in Illinois in 2021, but they still require approval from the Illinois Gaming Board.

Both individuals are prospective candidates. BetMGM is waiting for the license transfer from FanDuel to be finalized before it can take over the Par-A-Dice Casino license, while Unibet has secured a market access agreement with Argosy Casino Alton.

Illinois is likely to reach a new height once it approaches having operators in double digits.

Third place in just a few weeks isn’t too bad for now.

AP pictures by Craig Ruttle
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Boozell, Joe

Joe Boozell has been a college sports writer for since 2015. His work has also been featured in Bleacher Report,, and Boozell, in his younger years, played basketball against Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky in the Chicago area… one can only imagine the outcome.

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