Illinois became the fourth state in the post-PASPA era to surpass $25 billion in sports wagering handle Friday after the Illinois Gaming Board reported nearly $676.1 million in traditional handle for August.

The Land of Lincoln joins New Jersey, Nevada, and New York in that select group, reaching the benchmark in 40 months of wagering when not including months when retail-only betting was unavailable due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Mobile wagering has accounted for all but $980 million of that handle, and Illinois bettors have wagered $6.7 billion in the first eight months of 2023.

August’s handle was not enough to top New Jersey for the No. 2 spot nationally, marking the first time Illinois was not runner-up to New York in monthly handle since finishing fourth in January.

Operators claimed $46.9 million in adjusted gross revenue in August, which was down 1.8% compared to the same month in 2022. Handle was up 19.7% versus the comparable period last year, but the 6.9% hold was more than 1.5 percentage points lower. It was the first time since June 2022 that Illinois operators failed to reach the standard industry threshold of 7%.

The state collected just over $7 million in taxes from operators, while Cook County received nearly $509,000 from its separate 2% levy on revenue generated within its borders. The $602.2 million in AGR for the 2023 calendar year is 38.4% higher compared to the first eight months of 2022, while the $90.3 million in state taxes is running $25 million ahead of last year’s pace.

Finally, a (small) turnaround on parlays

llinois has long been a state where the house has run roughshod over the public when it comes to parlay wagering, with FanDuel often leading that rout. That changed to an extent in August. While the $24.6 million in operator revenue was still the largest single source of winnings, the 13.7% statewide hold on such wagers was the lowest since landing below 10% in February 2022.

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FanDuel in particular had a rough go by its lofty standards in the wagering discipline. Its 17.6% hold ended a 13-month run with parlay win rates of 20% or higher, though it still claimed $11.8 million from $67.1 million handle. Three of the state’s seven online operators had year-low holds for parlays, as DraftKings posted a 10.2% mark, while Caesars Sports was held to 5.2% in winning barely more than $306,000 from $5.9 million wagered.

BetMGM had the highest hold for parlays among online books at 17.8%, while BetRivers took the final podium spot at just shy of 15%. PointsBet landed in the middle for parlay win rates at 12.3%, while PENN Entertainment crafted a 7.5% hold as the former Barstool Sportsbook collected more than $638,000 from $8.5 million worth of accepted wagers.

The drag on FanDuel’s parlay prowess impacted its overall hold, knocking it below 8% in Illinois for the first time since narrowly missing that mark in March 2022. It still paced all mobile books with $17.3 million in revenue from $218.6 million handle from completed events.

DraftKings was a closer second than usual in revenue, claiming $15.8 million while crafting a 6.7% win rate. It led the seven mobile books in traditional handle with nearly $241.3 million, approximately $18.6 million more than FanDuel.

BetRivers comfortably claimed the final podium spots in both categories, winning $4.8 million from $63.3 million handle for a 7.6% hold. The race for the No. 4 spot in traditional handle was won by Caesars at $36.4 million, though the distance to last-place PENN Entertainment was far more compressed compared to July, as its handle surged 46.6% to $29.3 million.

Baseball tops, tennis a strong second

Baseball was one of four sports that yielded seven-figure revenue totals for operators, who claimed $6.3 million from the summer pastime off $206.2 million in handle. Tennis continued to be a strong second choice for bettors, with live wagering a likely contributor to the $89.1 million handle that ranked second only to last August.

Revenue from those wagers totaled $5.5 million, resulting in a 6.2% hold. Basketball ($2.1 million) was the other sport with a seven-figure payout for operators, though the catch-all “other” category provided an additional haul of nearly $1.9 million. The house also had a swing of more than $1.2 million to the positive in boxing and MMA wagers, claiming nearly $848,000 on $10.7 million worth of bets after paying out $389,000 above the $13.6 million handle in July.

Rivers, Alton, Casino Queen carry retail banner

The state’s nine retail books and three off-track betting locations combined to collect $1.6 million in revenue from $19.6 million handle, good for an 8.3% hold. Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin avoided a third straight month of losses, as it came out nearly $86,000 to the good on $1.3 million handle. The Caesars-based book lost more than $145,000 in July and slightly more than $7,000 in June.

Rivers Casino topped retail venues with more than $476,000, while across the Mississippi from St. Louis, Casino Queen topped $390,000. Alton Casino took the No. 3 slot at more than $313,000, while Par-A-Dice Casino ($126,532) in Peoria and Hollywood Casino in Joliet ($108,581) were the only other locations to post six-figure revenue totals.





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