Illinois December Sports Betting Handle Up Slightly, Revenue Way Down

Illinois December Sports Betting Handle Up Slightly, Revenue Way Down
By Ron Fritz

The total Illinois sports betting handle was up slightly in December but, like in most states, the month saw revenue take a big hit.

The sports betting handle of nearly $790 million puts it in third place for states in December behind New Jersey ($1.23 billion) and Nevada ($1.01 billion). When January numbers come out, Illinois and others will move down the list because of the torrid start to New York sports betting.

In just over three weeks (Jan. 8-30), New York set a new national handle record at $1.625 billion for the month. We will be waiting until March for the Illinois January numbers.

For 2021, Illinois posted the following totals: Sports betting handle, $7.02 billion; mobile sports betting handle, $6.725 billion; sports betting revenue $525.1 million.

Illinois Sports Betting, December vs. November

Total handleMobile HandleRevenue
December$789.600M$752.864M$33.685M
November$779.853M$745.967M$79.327M
ChangeUp 1.2% Up 0.9%Down 57.5%

Illinois Revenue Drops

In November, Illinois sports betting operators produced record revenue of $79 million. That was nearly $27 million more than the previous revenue record for a month.

But revenue dropped like a rock in December, even with handle going up. Revenue in December was $33.7 million, down 57.5% from the record in November.

The reason for the decrease is a hold rate that was more than half of that in November.

Illinois’ Tax Collections Also Down

The big decrease in revenue meant a big decrease in taxes. The December sports betting tax of $5.4 million was down 57.4% from November ($12.8 million).

Cook County saw about $384,000 in taxes in December.

Handle Up Slightly in December

The sports betting handle in December rose 1.2% compared to November. The Illinois sports wagering handle for December was $789.6 million, just under $10 million more than November ($779.8 million).

The top sport was, not surprisingly, football betting at $263.3 million, followed by basketball ($226.1 million) and soccer ($30.7 million).

The numbers in Illinois are impressive because the state still requires in-person registration to bet online. That is expected to expire in March after a new bill was signed into law.

And bettors in Illinois could have another option soon. BetMGM said two weeks ago that it plans to launch in Illinois in the first quarter of 2022.

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Contributors

Ron is assistant managing editor of IllinoisBet.com. He spent nearly 13 years at The Baltimore Sun, including 12 as sports editor. He previously was sports editor at The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, for nearly eight years after serving as a news editor there for four years.

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