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Illinois Posts Record $971 Million Sports Betting Handle For March


The Illinois Gaming Board reported a record traditional sports wagering handle for March of more than $971 million on Monday, with NCAA Tournament and NBA action fueling the highest monthly total reported outside New Jersey, Nevada, and New York in the post-PASPA era.

Completed events handle totaled close to $954 million, with basketball accounting for more than $540 million. The IGB previously reported more than $286.2 million in handle from the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournaments, and overall college wagering for March reached $350.8 million, as close to five million bets were placed.

Gross sports wagering revenue totaled nearly $62 million, resulting in a hold of 6.5%. Adjusted revenue was more than $60.6 million, as Caesars had a carryover loss of more than $1.5 million from January and February, which resulted in only $1.1 million of its March revenue eligible to be taxed at the state’s 15% rate. State taxes were just shy of $9.1 million, while Cook County received more than $660,000 in taxes from nearly $33.2 million in revenue generated within county boundaries, which includes the city of Chicago.

Handle surged 43% versus February’s $679.3 million and revenue spiked 70.3% compared to the previous month, aided by BetMGM launching as the state’s seventh mobile operator. With the new operator making year-for-year comparisons not exact, handle climbed 53.4% against March 2021, while revenue increased 36.8% despite a win rate nearly three-quarters of a point lower.

BetMGM posts $43M handle in first month

The first new online operator to enter Illinois in roughly a year when it launched March 5, BetMGM had a relatively strong start, with slightly more than $43.6 million in traditional handle. It was enough to edge out Caesars for sixth among the now seven mobile sportsbooks, though Caesars nearly doubled its all-time high in handle at $39.2 million.

FanDuel claimed handle honors, becoming the first mobile operator in Illinois to surpass $300 million in traditional handle at $310.7 million. DraftKings was a clear second at $284.2 million, while BetRivers was the only other operator to reach nine figures at $105.9 million. PointsBet also set a new record for traditional handle with slightly more than $77 million, while Barstool’s $66.8 million trailed only its $68.7 million in bets accepted last October.

FanDuel completed the online double of finishing first in handle and revenue, claiming more than $24.8 million in revenue from $308.4 million in completed events handle for an 8.1% hold. DraftKings was a distant second in revenue at $11.9 million, as its 4.2% hold was the lowest among the seven online operators.

PointsBet also generated a record monthly revenue total of $6.6 million, with its 8.6% win rate the high-water mark for mobile betting. It was not enough to knock BetRivers out of third, though, as the Rivers Casino tether had more than $7.6 million in revenue.

Barstool Sportsbook rounded out the top five in operator revenue with more than $3.1 million, and Caesars and BetMGM flipped the final two spots, as Caesars claimed more than $2.7 million in revenue compared to nearly $2.1 million by BetMGM.

Parlays and hoops comprise bulk of revenue

As is usually the case in Illinois, parlay wagering has resulted in the lion’s share of state operator revenue. It was $33.9 million in March, more than half the overall total, as the 15.8% win rate was easily the highest in any category with at least $5 million handle.

FanDuel continued to dominate this space with close to $17.8 million from $97.1 million bet, generating a 18.3% win rate. In the first month Caesars offered parlay wagering that meets the IGB criteria, it had a 19.9% win rate on $4.1 million wagered, claiming more than $820,000 in revenue.

DraftKings had a 14% hold that created $9.2 million in revenue from $65.7 million wagered on parlays. PointsBet was third in parlay revenue at $3.2 million from $16.3 million for a 19.7% hold, while Barstool also reached seven figures in parlay winnings with nearly $1.6 million from $12.1 million bet. BetMGM did not have beginner’s luck on its side for parlays, as it finished close to $370,000 in the red from $8.5 million bet.

Despite more than half-a-billion dollars in basketball wagers, the 3.2% win rate resulted in just $17.2 million in operator revenue. Tennis was third in both handle and revenue, with more than $3.8 million in revenue from $63.9 million in wagers. Soccer ranked fourth in revenue with nearly $3.3 million, while hockey rounded out the top five at $2.7 million.

Boxing and MMA wagering was the only other category to reach seven figures in revenue at just over $1 million, with a healthy 10.6% win rate from close to $9.9 million wagered. Bettors did come out ahead in the catch-all “other” category, winning $1.3 million more than the $32.8 million in wagers placed.

Rivers sets new retail handle standard

Rivers Casino, which is the top casino when it comes to traditional gaming revenue in Illinois, flexed its retail sportsbook muscle in record fashion in March with $21.6 million, the most of any brick-and-mortar venue in the state. It accounted for nearly half the $43.7 million for in-person handle, while its $1.4 million in revenue also came close to 50% of the overall $3.1 million for operators.

On the western side of the state, Casino Queen was second in handle and revenue at nearly $5 million in wagers and more than $870,000 in revenue. Argosy Casino Alton rounded out the podium spots in both categories, accepting $3.6 million in bets and more than $435,000 in revenue.

The state’s two horse racing tracks taking sports bets, FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing in Collinsville and Hawthorne Race Course in Stickney, combining for $4.3 million handle and just shy of $400,000 in revenue. Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria was the only retail sportsbook to finish in the red for March, as bettors came out nearly $320,000 ahead on $2.8 million bet.

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