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Illinois sportsbooks overcome obstacles to generate $140 million in August

6 Oct 2020

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Illinois online and retail sportsbooks attracted $140.1 million in bets in August, making the state the fifth-largest legal market in the U.S. The state's rapid ascension comes even as in-person registration rules remain inconsistent and tenuous, and without the largest operator in the country for much of the month, according to PlayIllinois analysts.

"August's results are a testament to just how lucrative a market Illinois truly can be," said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for "In-person registration was stunting growth, and that ended on 21 August. And FanDuel did not launch until the end of the month. Even with that, Illinois found itself ahead of Colorado, which has matured much more quickly, and on the heels of Indiana, the country's fourth-largest market."

The $140.1 million wagered in August was up 167% from $52.5 million in July, according to official reporting released Tuesday. That is more than Colorado's $128.6 million in August, but less than neighboring Indiana's $169 million.

August's bets produced $7.2 million in adjusted gross revenue statewide, which yielded $1.2 million in taxes.

Without football, Illinois' strong August performance came almost entirely on the power of the Major League Baseball, NBA, and NHL games. It was helped by remote registration — which allows bettors to sign up for an account without ever physically appearing at a state sportsbook — for the last 10 days of the month.

"The NFL will generate far more interest, and with mobile registration back for all of September, the pool of bettors will certainly grow significantly," Gouker said. "August is really just a first taste of what Illinois can do as a market."

BetRivers/Rivers Casino in Des Plaines — which had a significant head start on its competition — was by far the state's largest revenue producer. BetRivers/Rivers Casino accepted a whopping $118 million in online and retail bets, yielding $6.3 million in adjusted gross revenue.

DraftKings — the nation's No. 2 online sportsbook, operating under the Casino Queen license in Illinois — drew in $13.1 million in online bets. Rival FanDuel — the nation's No. 1, which is partnering with Par-A-Dice Casino — attracted $4.2 million in bets after launching Aug. 28.

"BetRivers' head start is a massive advantage that both FanDuel and DraftKings will have to try to overcome," Gouker said. "But they are the two largest operators for numerous reasons, and it will be interesting to watch how long it will take for those two to eat into BetRivers' market lead."
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