Illinois October Sports Betting Handle Hits Record $840M & Other Key Takeaways

Illinois October Sports Betting Handle Hits Record $840M & Other Key Takeaways
By Ron Fritz

With an Illinois sports betting handle of more than $800 million in October, the state did not join the two states that went over $1 billion for the month. But it was easily a record for Illinois and it was enough to put it solidly behind the record totals of New Jersey and Nevada.

For the first time, two states went over $1 billion in monthly handle in October — New Jersey with a record $1.3 billion and Nevada with $1.1 billion. New Jersey in September became the first state to top $1 billion.

States were helped out in October by five full NFL and college football betting weekends. Plus, the NBA and NHL started, giving bettors a full complement of sports to place wagers on.

The total handle in the U.S. cleared $7 billion in October with Arizona still to report its figures for the month. It helped that New Jersey and Nevada combined for $2.4 billion in October.

Illinois Sports Betting Handle, October vs. September

Total handleMobile HandleRevenue
ChangeUp 40.9% Up 41.0%Up 31.5%

Here are three key takeaways about gambling in the state from the October sports wagering report, released by the Illinois Gaming Board on Wednesday.

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Record Handle for Illinois

With $840.4 million in October, Illinois shattered its sports betting record of $633 million set in March. It was up 41% from September’s $596.9 million and an increase of 93% from October 2020 ($434.6 million).

The October mobile sports betting handle in Illinois was a record $803.4 million, up 41.0% from September ($569.9 million) and up 96% from October 2020 ($409.8 million). The old record for mobile was $609 million in March.

Mobile was 95% of the total handle in Illinois.

Revenue for Illinois in October was $52.6 million, up 31.5% from September ($39.9 million). That was also a new record, breaking the old mark of $47,9 million in January. The October sports betting tax was $8.6 million, an increase of 31.2% from September ($6.5 million).


Football Still Rules in Illinois

In Illinois in October, football vetting accounted for $330.1 million of the total handle, or about 39%. That’s with the Chicago Bears struggling mightily and Illinois bettors not being able to wager on their own college football teams.

Basketball ($93.3 million) and baseball ($77.6 million) were also popular among bettors, but not as popular as parlay bets. Parlay bets accounted for $188.7 million of the total handle.

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In-Person Registration Going Away

In-person registration is still in effect in Illinois. Two states — Illinois and Nevada — still require bettors to complete their registration in casinos. But Illinois will be ending that requirement in time for March Madness.

A bill that puts an end to the in-person registration requirement no later than March 5, 2022, was approved by the Illinois legislature in October during a special veto session. HB 3136 will allow for some limited wagering on state college teams and adds Wintrust Arena — home of the WNBA champion Chicago Sky — as a venue able to accept sports bets.

But bettors in Chicago might not be betting at pro sports venues in the city anytime soon. A planned vote on an ordinance to bring wagering to Chicago professional sports facilities was tabled by the City Council’s License and Zoning Committees on Tuesday.



Ron Fritz is a former editor for

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