Illinois Sets Sports Betting Handle Record At $449.2M For November

The Illinois Gaming Board released its full sports betting figures for the month of November on Monday, and the Land of Lincoln set a new standard for the sixth month running with a traditional handle of $449.2 million.

November’s handle was a modest 3.4% increase on October’s amount of nearly $434.6 million total dollars wagered at the state’s eight sportsbook operators. The eightsome generated just under $41.3 million in revenue for November as they posted a win rate of 9.1% on a taxable handle of just under $453.6 million. That resulted in nearly $6.2 million for the state’s tax coffers, and Cook County received $425,355 in tax revenue on 2% of adjusted gross revenue for all wagers placed in the county.

Illinois became the sixth state — joining New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Colorado — to surpass $1 billion in cumulative handle as operators have accepted nearly $1.4 billion in wagers. It also ranked fourth in handle in November among states offering sports betting, trailing only New Jersey ($931.6 million), Nevada ($609.5mm), and Pennsylvania ($491.9mm).

The timeline for Illinois — which began accepting bets last March — to reach the milestone figure is impressive given the COVID-19 pandemic, and largely in part due to Gov. Pritzker issuing Executive Order 2020-41 in June and his multiple renewals to suspend the in-person registration provision required to gain access to mobile sports wagering.

It is expected the governor will issue another renewal Friday given the current extension expires Saturday, retail sportsbooks across the state are operating at limited capacity due to the pandemic, and the small matter of the nation’s single largest sports betting event — Super Bowl LV — being played Sunday.

DraftKings opens gap as top online handle generator

For the second straight month, DraftKings, BetRivers, and FanDuel all cleared $100 million in online handle, and each saw gains in their individual respective handle totals, but there was a more notable spread among the three key players in November compared to October. DraftKings again led the way with nearly $166.2 million in online wagers, a 20% increase month over month.

BetRivers this time took runner-up honors, posting just under $126 million in handle for an increase of 24.1%. FanDuel slipped to third overall with $114.4 million in wagers, but still recorded an increase of 8.7% month over month. PointsBet, which generated nearly $60.3 million in handle in October in its first full month of online operations, had less than half that amount in November at $26.5 million, while William Hill rounded out the quintet of online operators with $4.7 million, a 9.3% uptick on October’s handle of $4.3 million.

All told, nearly $433.7 million in online handle was generated for the traditional November handle, accounting for 96.54% of all wagers made. Casinos in Illinois were closed Nov. 17 due to the second wave of COVID-19 and only began re-opening at various levels of limited capacity last month.

Football and parlays top drivers of handle and revenue

Football was again the primary driver of Illinois’ sports betting handle as more than $255.7 million was wagered on pro and college football in November. The allure of big-money parlay paydays continued as the category was the second-largest in terms of handle with over $80.6 million wagered, and the two groups accounted for nearly three-quarters of the overall handle and more than 80% of the nearly 12.2 million bets placed.

Soccer emerged as a surprising second among sports with nearly $50.3 million in wagers — with nearly $30.3 million originating from BetRivers and Rivers Casino. Pro and college basketball accounted for almost $28.2 million in wagers, tennis posted a handle of more than $18.1 million, and golf rounded out the top five for sports at $9.6 million.

While operators paid out more than $233 million in football bets, they also kept a healthy amount — nearly $22.7 million — for themselves as they posted a win rate of 8.87%. The other place where the books ruled supreme was parlays as an 18.45% win rate resulted in a windfall of just under $14.9 million.

While the win rate in soccer was merely 3.74%, the handle allowed operators to collect nearly $1.9 million in revenue. The books nearly reached $1 million in revenue on boxing and MMA events, collecting $925,605 on more than $5.2 million wagered.

Bettors fared well in the catch-all “other category,” receiving $5.2 million in payouts on less than $3.9 million wagered.

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