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Illinois Sports Betting Hit Record Handle In Last Month Of Remote Signups

Sports betting in Illinois finally broke the $600 million handle mark. It might be a while until that happens again though.

Total handle hit $633.6 million in March, which was a perfect storm for IL sportsbooks. Naturally, March Madness gave a big lift to the basketball-crazed state, even with a betting ban on in-state colleges.

March was also the last full month of remote registration in Illinois. Gov. JB Pritzker did not renew his executive order from last summer that suspended the in-person registration requirement at the beginning of April, saying it was no longer necessary.

That means every new sportsbook account must be created at a casino. Unless action is taken, it will be January 2022 before another online registration is allowed.

Sports betting revenue hit $44.3 million, or a 7.0% hold. That translated to $6.6 million in taxes to the state, according to the Illinois Gaming Board report.

College basketball drives Illinois sports betting

Basketball handle hit $365.7 million in March and was the only sport with more than $100 million bet on it for the month.

Nearly half of that basketball handle was bet on March Madness alone, according to IGB officials. At least $176.8 million was bet on the tournament with $14.6 million in revenue, Administrator Marcus Fruchter said at a meeting last month.

Those preliminary figures left out an unidentified operator, so the final totals from the tournament are unknown. IGB officials did not offer the updated total when reached Monday.

DraftKings Sportsbook sees drop in online lead

Mobile betting accounted for $609 million in handle, or 96.1% of the total market in March. But a new entrant and gains from three other operators cut down on DraftKings Sportsbook’s handle share significantly.

  • DraftKings accounted for 42.3% of all online handle in February with $243.5 million. That dipped to $203.9 million in March for online handle share of 33.5%.
  • BetRivers also lost footing in the state. Its $109 million accounted for 19.0% of online handle in February but that share dropped to 15.7% with $95.7 million bet in March.
  • FanDuel Sportsbook saw its online handle share improve to 32.0% from 30.1% in February with $194.9 million bet in March.
  • The other two established operators, PointsBet and William Hill, had online handle shares of 8.8% and 2.2%, respectively.

Barstool Sportsbook cuts into share

The biggest impact on DraftKings’ share, though, likely came from Penn National launching Barstool Sportsbook on March 11.

Even though Barstool ranked fifth out of the six online sportsbooks, it still took $47.8 million in bets for a 7.8% share of the market.

Barstool should have been an even stronger competitor in April. Once the brand knew remote registration was coming to an end, it started a “last chance” marketing push for online registrations with 36 hours left.

That push led to more than 20,000 registrations and 13,000 first-time depositors in that 36-hour period, according to Penn’s most recent earnings presentation. More than 10,000 users opted into a promotion for four free $100 bets.

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