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Illinois Sportsbooks Post Single-Month Win Record In January

Written By Derek Helling on March 28, 2024
fireworks exploding in night sky

There’s starting the year with a bang, and then there’s beginning a trip around the sun with a cavalcade of explosions. The fiscal fireworks were launching for Illinois’ regulated sports betting industry to commence in 2024.

Illinois sportsbooks won almost $134.9 million from bettors during those 31 days, the new high for any single month in the state’s history. As you would expect, the wagering activity also kept an impressive streak going, although there are doubts about further extensions.

January 2024 sees Illinois sportsbooks heat up

Amid record highs throughout Illinois as far as January temperatures went, those degrees of atmospheric condition weren’t the only thing that rose to new levels. Aside from the historic win during the month, Illinois stands to collect almost $20.3 million in tax revenue on sports betting revenue, while Cook County is due nearly $1.4 million.

The record amount of win represented about a 10.5% cut of the nearly $1.3 billion in wagers that physical and online sportsbooks in Illinois took during January. It’s the fifth consecutive month in which the amount of money bet has topped a billion dollars in Illinois.

December 2023 betting handle in Illinois represented the previous high for sportsbook win in a single month at almost $126.4 million. January 2024’s wagering total stands as the third-highest sum of all time in Illinois for a single month, falling short of both November 2023 and December 2023 in that regard.

All these numbers reinforce Illinois’ standing among the most lucrative markets for sports betting in the United States. They also suggest that the demand for such gambling is not yet at its maturity.

Illinois is missing out on online casino revenue while sports betting continues growth

Nearly four years after legal wagering began, Illinois sportsbooks have not yet hit their ceiling. For example, January 2024’s betting total represented a 16.8% increase from the same month in 2023.

For the current fiscal year through January, that running total of dollars wagered is also up 19% compared to the first seven months of FY2022-23. Moreover, this sustained growth points to what Illinois’ online gambling industry is currently missing out on.

In US states where both online casino and online sports betting play are legal, revenue from online casino activity tends to be worth about two to three times the value of sports bets every month. A big reason for that is that online casino revenue is relatively far less volatile.

Sports wagering ebbs and flows not only with the sports calendar, but sportsbooks’ win can vary greatly depending on how the public bets and events play out. In comparison, people play online poker, online slots, and online table games more evenly throughout the year and the results of those plays are far more reliable for gambling companies.

Thus, a timid push to legalize online casino play in Springfield, Illinois will likely sacrifice millions of dollars in tax revenue each month. January’s record sportsbook win is a sign of the untapped potential of the state.

Photo by PlayUSA
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

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