Illinois, Tennessee Sportsbooks Break Handle Records In November

Written By J.R. Duren on January 13, 2023
Both TN and IL surpassed previous sports betting handles for November 2022

Sports betting records keep breaking in Illinois and Tennessee. Both states saw all-time highs for sports betting handle in November.

The unprecedented numbers for the two states represent an overall growth seen in the United States sports betting industry over the past two years.

Illinois sports betting has back-to-back $1 billion months

The Illinois Gaming Board reported this week that the state’s seven online apps and seven retail sportsbooks generated $1.03 billion in handle (amount bet) in November.

That marks the second straight month that Illinois sports betting handle exceeded $1 billion. In October, the tally was just under $1.3 billion.

Those numbers put Illinois among the top three in the nation for monthly handle. Only New Jersey ($1.1 billion) and New York ($1.6 billion) had more handle in November.

Illinois’ record-breaking numbers are the result of smart legislation. When online sports betting launched in 2020, users had to sign up in person to get a mobile account.

With very few sportsbooks in the state relative to its population, online gambling suffered.

However, in March, lawmakers did away with the in-person requirement. And since July, the state’s online sports betting handle has nearly doubled:

MonthHandle
January$867,505,495
February$679,374,199
March$971,278,389
April$839,386,882
May$764,591,757
June$628,459,522
July$516,414,719
August$564,837,409
September$831,805,990
October$1.03 billion
November$1.03 billion

Tennessee sports betting handle hits all-time high in November

Like Illinois, Tennessee sports betting has seen a huge boost in its betting handle since the summer.

Handle from the state’s nine online sportsbooks surpassed $400 million in back-to-back months in November, reaching a record $439.46 million. That figure represents an 8% increase over October.

When taken in the context of handle data from past months, November’s total is all the more impressive:

MonthHandle
January$386,059,756
February$313,298,305
March$370,230,004
April$292,796,670
May$261,582,468
June$215,774,186
July$182,769,323
August$205,863,860
September$336,933,437
October$405,337,575
November$439,456,908

What stands out about November is that handle surpassed what the state’s sportsbooks took in during March Madness, which is typically among the biggest handle months of the year.

Additionally, November’s strong handle numbers are more than double what they were in July.

What’s ahead for Illinois and Tennessee?

Revenue numbers for both states are likely going to go up in the next few months. December betting handle tends to dip a bit before surging in January, thanks to the college football bowl season and national championship, the NFL playoffs, and regular season games in the NFL and NBA.

In Illinois, we could see the handle eclipse $1.5 billion for the first time in state history. In March 2022, the total handle came in at just under $1 billion.

With the online sign-up revenue surge leading to huge growth over the past few months, hitting $1.5 billion in March isn’t out of the question.

As for Tennessee, it’s possible we could see more than $460 million in handle in the first three months of 2023. For context, the state’s sportsbooks brought in $365.7 million in November 2021. By January, that number jumped by 5%.

If that same growth rate holds between November 2022 and January 2023, we should see the handle increase to at least $464 million, which would be a record high for the state.

Photo by PlayUSA
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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