Illinois Sportsbooks Break Records and Pass $1B Online For First Time

Illinois Sportsbooks Break Records and Pass $1B Online For First Time
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

January started the new year in record fashion for Illinois sports betting.

Sportsbooks in the Land of Lincoln exceeded $1.07 billion in total handle (or wagers accepted) and, for the first time, broke the 10-figure barrier for online betting too.

The exact handle of $1,070,033,292 was a 4.0% increase from December ($1.028 billion) and surpassed the record of $1,029,560,184 that had stood since October.

The handle was also up 23.3% compared to January 2023 ($867.5 million).

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Online Illinois Sportsbook Apps Set Milestone

The record for online bets fell for the fourth consecutive month as Illinois sportsbook apps handled $1,033,364,498 for the first month of 2023. That surpassed December’s record of $990,965,303, a 4.3% rise, and was a 24.6% increase from 12 months earlier ($829.1 million) as the state saw continued benefits from the decision last year to end the in-person sportsbook registration requirement.

The end of the NFL regular season also saw the end of football’s reign atop Illinois handle charts, showing again how enthusiastic residents are for basketball betting.

January’s top five sports in wagers were basketball ($338.07 million), football ($221.08 million), tennis ($77.21M), soccer ($37.98M) and hockey ($34.3M). Illinois bettors continue to love their parlays, to the tune of nearly $306.5 million in bets for January. And “other sports” — catch-all term for bets on sports aside from the month’s top five, baseball, boxing, MMA and golf — accounted for $51,831,104.

Professional sports accounted for nearly $904 million in bets, with interest in college events clocking in at more than $166 million.

Illinois Sports Betting Handle, January vs. December

Total handleMobile HandleRevenue
Change Up 4.0% Up 4.3% Up 16.5%

Revenue Increases But Not Quite Record

The sports betting revenue for Illinois sportsbooks was strong in January, but it fell just short of the record-setting heights that the handle figures reached.

The revenue rose 16.5% in a month-over-month comparison to the December Illinois betting revenue report, from $82,403,727 to $96,011,984.

That revenue of just over $96 million was the third-highest in state history, with all of the top three happening in a four-month span. October’s total of $102.1 million is the figure to beat, followed by November’s $96.97 million.

January’s revenue was also a 45% spike in a year-over-year comparison to January 2022 ($66,219,204), according to the Illinois Gaming Board.

The sports betting tax rose from $13.3 million in December to $15.54 million.

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Latest on Illinois Online Casinos

The effort to make Illinois online casino games legal is at stake in the state legislature.

Online casino, or iGaming, options encompass games such as slot machines, roulette, poker, Baccarat and more. Six states offer legal, regulated iGaming: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan, Delaware, West Virginia and Connecticut.

Will the Land of Lincoln join that list and potentially become the biggest online casino market?

That’s the question for two identical bills that would legalize Illinois online casino operators. Senate Bill 1656 and House Bill 2239 were filed in February and are in the committee phase. The House is meeting this week but the Senate resumes its 2023 session on March 21.



Jim Tomlin is a writer and editor for He has been a journalist for 30 years, with experience at publications such as the Tampa Bay Times, Saturday Tradition, Saturday Down South and FanRag.

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