The Illinois Gaming Board reported Tuesday that the state’s sportsbooks had traditional sports wagering handle of nearly $1.08 billion in September, an all-time high that also contributed to a national record monthly handle of more than $11.5 billion.

It was the sixth time Illinois sportsbooks accepted more than $1 billion in wagers in a month, all coming in the last 12 months. September’s handle was about $5.7 million higher than the previous best of $1.07 billion established in March.

Handle was up nearly 30% from the previous September and close to 60% more than in August. The year-to-date handle of $7.8 billion is 16.6% higher compared to the first three quarters of 2022. With only Kentucky yet to publish its figures from its September launch, Illinois will finish third behind New York and New Jersey in handle for the second consecutive month after being runner-up to the Empire State from February through July.

Sportsbooks claimed more than $86.2 million in adjusted gross revenue from a hold just shy of 8%. The significant bump in handle helped revenue climb almost 10% from September 2022, which had a hold above 9.4%. The year-to-date win rate of nearly 8.9%, combined with the notable rise in handle, has sent year-to-date revenue surging 34.1% higher than last year to $688.4 million.

The state received more than $12.9 million in taxes in September, pushing the total to nearly $103.3 million for the 2023 calendar year. That is more than $26.2 million ahead of last year’s pace through nine months. Cook County received more than $925,000 in taxes from the $46.3 million in revenue generated from bets placed within its borders — including in Chicago —  and has claimed nearly $7.5 million in taxes thus far this year.

Circa enters the Illinois sports betting chat

September marked the entrance of Illinois’ eighth mobile betting app as Circa Sports launched just prior to the end of the month. It had a traditional handle of $225,591 in those three days of wagering from Sep. 28-30, while it finished with a 0.7% hold on completed events, keeping $1,350 of the $189,868 in accepted wagers.

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Its brick-and-mortar venue at The Temporary in Waukegan was one of two retail newcomers in Illinois in September. Circa’s in-person book reported close to $36,000 in traditional handle, but bettors got an early jump on the Las Vegas-based book, coming out $14,166 ahead on the $31,662 in completed events wagers.

Harrah’s Metropolis also opened its retail sportsbook for business Sep. 6. Located on the Kentucky border in southern Illinois, Harrah’s had a traditional handle of $102,681 in September. It had a strong initial month with $23,906 in winnings from $98,544 in completed events handle, good for a 24.3% win rate.

DraftKings tops $400 million handle

DraftKings became the first mobile sportsbook in the state to surpass $400 million in monthly handle as its traditional total was $402.9 million. The mobile leviathan also set an all-time monthly high for revenue in Illinois at $30.5 million from $398.8 million in completed events handle, good for a 7.7% hold as it topped $30 million for the first time in the state.

FanDuel led all online books with $32.4 million in revenue, but its 9.3% win rate from $348.6 million in completed events handle marked its first time below a 10% hold in consecutive months since January-March of last year. FanDuel still has a year-to-date hold of slightly higher than 11% as it has claimed $290.4 million in winnings from $2.63 billion handle.

BetRivers easily took third-place spots for both revenue and handle, coming away with $6.9 million in winnings from $83 million in completed events handle for an 8.4% hold. Its increased focus on parlay wagering this year has mitigated a 14.4% drop in year-to-date handle versus 2022, with the $59.9 million in revenue less than 1% lower compared to the first nine months of last year.

Caesars reported a 71% year-over-year bounce in September handle to $66 million, but bettors held it in check with a sub-4% hold for the second straight month. Its revenue of close to $2.5 million was down 5.5% compared to the previous September, as the 3.7% hold was more than three percentage points lower than last year.

BetMGM finished fourth among mobile operators in revenue with more than $4.4 million. Its 9.5% hold on $46.8 million in completed events handle was tops among the eight mobile books. PointsBet rounded out the top five for handle at $50.8 million in traditional bets accepted as well as revenue at just shy of $4 million, crafting a 7.9% win rate.

PENN Entertainment, which still operated Barstool Sportsbook in September before launching its newly rebranded ESPN BET nationwide this month, saw just how much of a road it has to climb toward the 20% market share it wants as an eventual goal. It had $38.4 million in traditional wagers accepted, which comes out to roughly 3.7% of the online handle for the month. A 6.8% hold for September allowed it to claim $2.6 million in revenue and consign Caesars to last among the pre-existing mobile books.

Parlays were the primary revenue driver

Long a state known for enjoying its parlay wagers, Illinois bettors did so in droves in September with traditional handle totaling $298.3 million. That was just off the record $303.5 million in those types of bets accepted in January. The statewide hold on parlays was a modest 18.5% as the house kept $54.3 million of the $293.6 million in completed events parlays bets.

FanDuel paced all mobile operators with a 21.2% hold to claim almost $25 million in parlay revenue from $118 million wagered, but the other six online books were in a relatively narrow band ranging from 14.9% at BetMGM and PointsBet to 18.6% at Caesars. DraftKings had the second-most parlay action at $104.8 million and fashioned a 16.8% win rate to keep $17.6 million.

BetRivers narrowly missed an 18% hold as it posted close to $3.5 million in parlay winnings from $19.4 million handle. All seven mobile books operating for the full month cleared at least $1.2 million worth of parlay winnings, with PointsBet closest to $2 million as it fell about $57,000 short of the benchmark.

The betting public also appeared to show some savvy in fading the Chicago Bears during their 0-3 start in September, as the hold on $357.2 million in completed events handle for football only provided $8.3 million in revenue and a 2.3% win rate. Operators claimed more winnings in baseball at close to $9.8 million despite handle being less than half that of football at $164.2 million.

The betting public also held operators under 5% holds in basketball (4.4%), soccer (3.6%), and the catch-all other category (3.9%) as the three groups accounted for nearly $5.4 million in winnings combined. The house claimed a tidy $1.4 million-plus in boxing and mixed martial arts, though, with a 15.6% win rate on $9.2 million handle.

Tennis handle reached an all-time monthly high of $96.1 million, eclipsing the previous mark of $92.1 million set in August 2022. The $6.5 million in revenue also set an all-time high by less than $125,000 from June’s $6.3 million haul.

Compared to the 18.5% hold on parlays, operators statewide had a far more modest 3.9% hold on single-event wagering, winning only $29.1 million from just shy of $750 million wagered.





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