Illinois Sportsbooks Smash Record For Betting Handle In November 2023

Written By J.R. Duren on January 18, 2024
Illinois' Quincy Guerrier And Luke Goode Celebrate

Illinois sports betting handle has been a story of dominance over the past few months.

In September, bettors gambled more money than any other month in Illinois history ($1.07 billion), only to follow that with a record-breaking October total betting handle of $1.1 billion. That record has fallen again, as Illinois sports bettors wagered an unprecedented $1.4 billion in November.

November’s monthly growth marked the sixth consecutive month that Illinois sports betting handle has increased.

Pro sports betting passed $1 billion for the first time in state history

The engine behind Illinois sports betting has always been the bets placed on professional sports (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, etc.). Those bets come in two forms: Tier 1 (traditional single-game bets like the spread and moneyline) and Tier 2 (parlays and futures).

In November, Illinois’ eight online sportsbooks received $1.07 billion in professional sports bets:

  • Tier 1: $567,178,246.35
  • Tier 2: $501,380,209.81
  • Total: $1,068,558,456.16

In October, those same numbers totaled $1.01 billion. Looking ahead to December, it’s likely we could see another revenue record set as the handle could approach $1.15 billion.

All but around $27.5 million of November’s pro sports handle came through retail locations.

College sports betting takes a huge step

According to the Illinois Gaming Board’s latest report, college sports handle saw a considerable jump from October to November. Gambling rose from $147.8 million to more than $305 million, thanks to football and basketball hitting their stride.

November’s numbers were impressive compared to one year before, too, when sportsbooks managed to bring in around $233.2 million in handle.

Where is Illinois’ sports betting handle headed in December?

December is typically a fantastic month for gaming, sports betting included. Knowing that there tends to be a spike in betting activity in December, we should see the handle sneak up at least a few million dollars. Or, in a best-case scenario, surpass $1.5 billion.

For context, December 2022’s handle came in at $1.03 billion. That was equal to what sportsbooks brought in for November and October 2022.

Here’s a monthly breakdown for sports betting handles in Illinois for 2023:

  • November 2023 – $1.4 billion
  • October – $1.1 billion
  • September – $1.08 billion
  • August – $664.3 million
  • July – $609.8 million
  • June – $665.8 million
  • May – $821.7 million
  • April – $898.6 million
  • March – $1.07 billion
  • February  -$875.4 million
  • January – $1.07 billion
  • December 2022 – $1.03 billion
  • November 2022 – $1.03 billion

The trends this year seem to indicate that December will likely beat November’s total, as the fall months showed an upward trajectory. Looking ahead to March, it’s possible that the NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments could push Illinois sports betting handle to a place it’s never been: $1.6 billion.

Photo by Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo
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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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