The state of Illinois finally closed the book on what was a disappointing June for the entirety of the US legal sports betting industry. Illinois, whose policy is to report its monthly sports betting figures weeks later than all other participating jurisdictions showed a typical June sports betting drop-off, although their sportsbooks maintained the pattern of widespread revenue spikes for states operating in the US scene.
“Illinois sportsbooks is very much continuing down the same path as most major US markets in June, with revenue surging despite the seasonal headwinds working to keep handle down,” said Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the PlayUSA.com network, which includes PlayIllinois.com. “Fortunately for them, sportsbooks only have to endure one more month of sluggish action before the fall sports season reignites the industry.”
Illinois legal sports betting industry dipped under the $500 million handle mark for the first time in 2021 in June. June was the third straight month of declines in sports betting activity for the state and the lowest betting total reported in the state since November.
Sportsbooks took in $476.5 million over the 30-day period which represents a 6.1% drop from the $507.3 million in May. June’s total was just over $157 million off the record $633.6 million reported in March. $451.7 million, or 94.8% of June’s total handle were made online, despite the state’s controversial return to an in-person registration requirement for the state’s wagering apps.
The Illinois Gaming Board did report a healthy June revenue spike for Illinois’ sportsbooks. An estimated $47.5 million in profits came from the overall handle, which is an impressive 31.2% spike from the $36.2 million in May and just $430,000 off the record revenue $47.9 million haul seen in March.
The hold in June for Illinois was an above-average 10%.
Sportsbooks’ tax contributions amounted to $7.13 million in June, a 31.3% jump from the $5.34 million seen in May.
Where June Puts Illinois and the US
With June’s sports betting numbers across the entire US scene in, it gives the opportunity to see where individual states and the entirety of the American industry stood after a month characterized by slumping handles and a limited sports betting menu.
Illinois maintained their Top three sport on the list of bet-friendly states. They were third with their $476.5 million handle. New Jersey once again led the way with $767 million in bets and Nevada was second thanks to $545.4 million wagered. Pennsylvania rounded out the top 4 with $420.2 million.
“Even with all the twists and turns over the last year, namely the back-and-forth with in-person registration requirements and pandemic restrictions, Illinois continues to break new ground,” said Joe Boozell, an analyst for PlayIllinois.com. “Illinois bettors remain highly engaged, keeping the state entrenched among the nation’s sports betting heavyweights like Nevada and New Jersey.”
Looking at the broader picture, the Illinois legal sports betting scene has now eclipsed $35 million in revenues from sports betting every month in 2021 and has made $255 million so far this year.
The Illinois June handle also took the state’s total lifetime handle to just over $5 billion since launch, making it the quickest jurisdiction so far to reach that milestone.
As far as the total American scene, betting activity was down 0.7% month-to-month – from $3.71 billion in May to $3.68 billion in June. Revenues for the entire US industry, however, showed a 26% increase from $244.7 million in May to $308.4 million in June.
Illinois will be looking to regain its spot at number two on the list of bet-friendly states after Nevada reclaimed that position in June. While that may be a tough ask with post-COVID Las Vegas and Reno contributing once again to the Nevada scene, the Illinois market has been strong and will get better when the NFL season kicks off September 9.
But with in-person registration requirements returning for Illinois’ mobile platform (the same type of requirements that have dragged the Nevada scene down), there is a possibility that the state’s wagering scene will be tempered and be held back from reaching its full potential.
MGM Entertainment is looking to move in on the Illinois scene and Caesars, with the launch of their mobile sportsbook is about to direct more resources to the state. Competition certainly won’t be a problem with the Illinois scene.
It all adds up to records falling in Illinois, starting in September. Expect July and August to be typically weaker with a significant ramp-up of the Illinois handle this fall.