In January 2018, Illinois sportsbooks broke yet another state record, placing almost $870 million worth of bets.
January’s total handle surpassed that of the previous record month in Illinois, in October 2021, which saw $840m wagered. This is due to extended NFL seasons, increased playoffs and more basketball action.
Official January figures came in at $867.5m. This is a 10% increase over December, and 49% more than January 2021.
829m (or 96%) of all wagers were placed online, but American football was the most popular, with $224m in bets.
Eric Ramsey, Analyst, PlayUSA.com Network, commented: “The NFL did sportsbooks a massive favour by expanding its regular season and playoff schedule. The fact those additional games were all squeezed into one month helped produce some eye-popping numbers in Illinois and beyond.”
The record-breaking month is likely to be repeated in the near future, even though it was broken. Illinois citizens had to register at an Illinois sportsbook in person before they were allowed to place online bets. The requirement to register in person at a retail sportsbook has been removed permanently, making it easier for Illinois residents to place bets online.
Joe Boozell, Lead Analyst, PlayIllinois.com, said: “The momentum of the last four months will serve sportsbooks well, as the removal of the in-person registration requirement on March 5 moved Illinois sports betting into a new era.
“Sports betting has continued to gain popularity in the state, and with the reins lifted, Illinois could very well grow into the second-largest market in the US this year.”
With the NCAA Tournament, college basketball’s main competition of the season, taking place between 15 March and 4 April, some predict Illinois could surpass $1bn in handle in the near future.
DraftKings had the highest number of bets with $284 million, followed by FanDuel with $261 million.
BetMGM is another operator that recently opened in Illinois. Other sportsbooks will be available in 2022.