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Illinois’ February Sports Gambling Handle Hits $1.07B, Revenue Down From January

Written By Katarina Vojvodic | Updated:
Thousands Of People In Orange At University Of Illinois for a Homecoming football game.

According to the Illinois Gaming Board’s (IGB) February 2024 analysis, sportsbooks in the state reported $1.07 billion in total bets (also known as a betting handle). The number is a combination of betting on professional sports, college sports, motor races and other events.

Illinois sportsbook operators generated $83.5 million in revenue in February, which resulted in the state’s collecting $12.5 million in tax receipts.

Betting handle passes $1 billion mark, sixth time in a row

According to the IGB’s February 2024 report, total bets represent a 22.3% increase from February 2023’s $875.4 million.

However, the total betting handle during February represents a 16.7% decrease from almost $1.3 billion in total bets reported in Illinois for January 2024.

Looking at a larger scale, February 2024 marks the sixth month that the Illinois sports betting handle number surpassed $1 billion:

  • September 2023: $1,078,339,446
  • October 2023: $1,161,060,707
  • November 2023: $1,375,398,292
  • December 2023: $1,314,056,821
  • January 2024: $1,286,243,926
  • February 2024: $1,070,625,058 

Looking at last year’s numbers and due to highly popular March Madness contests, March will likely beat February’s total.

When compared to other states, Illinois’ total bets from February come right after New York’s $1.8 billion and New Jersey’s $1.1 billion, surpassing Nevada ($711.9 million) and Ohio ($672.0 million).

Illinois’ February sports betting revenue declines from January but up on the year

As mentioned, Illinois sportsbook operators won $83.5 million in February. Although the revenue figure represents a monthly drop of 38.2%, it is an increase of 22.1% from February 2023‘s $68.4 million.

For the 29 days of February, the state collected $12.5 million in tax receipts, a monthly decrease of 38.2% but a yearly rise of 22.1%.

Illinois sports betting tax rate could double

Illinois sportsbooks currently pay 15% in taxes. Gov. J.B. Pritzker is suggesting the state raises them to 35%, assuming it would bring additional money for the state budget. Pritzker disclosed the proposed sports betting tax hike in February as part of his $52.7-billion budget for the state’s fiscal year beginning July 1.

While increasing the tax rate could cost Illinois sportsbooks an additional $200 million, the state assumes a nearly $128 million surplus under the spending plan.

If Pritzker succeeds in passing the increase, Illinois’s new tax rate of 35% would rank after New York’s (51% tax rate), New Hampshire’s (51%) and Pennsylvania’s (36%).

Illinois online casino legislation in the status quo

Illinois could look to expand gaming options, but Illinois online casino legislation will probably have to wait until 2025 to show some progress.

An active online casino bill, HB 2239, sponsored by Rep. Edgar Gonzalez, proposes a 15% tax rate and a $250,000 license fee, while HB 2320, introduced by Rep. Jonathan Carroll, suggests a 12% tax rate with a $500,000 license fee. PlayUSA’s online casino bill tracker is keeping track of online casino legislation and efforts in the US.

Although Illinois lawmakers have two separate versions of the Internet Gaming Act to consider, Illinois online casinos will stay on hold until something changes.

Photo by PlayUSA
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for PlayCanada.com. Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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